5 April 2011
A report today, from the House of Commons' Committee on Arms Export Controls, reveals how ministers approved the export of sniper rifles, bullets, tear gas and other crowd control equipment, just four months before the Libyan pro-democracy uprising.
Britain has provided Colonel Gaddafi's regime with £213 million worth of weapons in the last year alone. (1)
Over 1000 Libyan citizens have been killed since Gaddafi launched his violent crackdown on protesters. The report confirms fears that the weapons used by Gaddafi's regime were bought from the UK.
As one of the MPs who voted against the UK's military action in Libya, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas has said that this damning report: "lays bare the moral failure at the heart of UK's foreign policy in North Africa and the Middle East.
"If we are truly committed to upholding human rights in the region, then we must urgently review our role in the international arms trade - and stop selling arms to repressive regimes.
"We cannot continue to arm dictators who abuse their own citizens and then try to claim the moral high ground when addressing the conflicts that those same arms have helped to perpetuate."
The Commons' Committee on Arms Export Controls admit that British governments have "misjudged the risk" from arms exports, and that since January 2011, the government had been "vigorously backpedalling on a number of arms export approvals to authoritarian regimes across the region."
The Green Party strongly welcomes the recommendation of the Committee today for the government to review all arms export licences to authoritarian regimes worldwide that could be used for internal repression.