Arms Trade: Exports

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 4th February 2015.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Llandudno Lord Roberts of Llandudno Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to make the export of arms contingent on countries' commitments to improve human rights.

Photo of Lord Livingston of Parkhead Lord Livingston of Parkhead The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Government supports a responsible defence and security industry that helps meet the legitimate defence needs of other states, and contributes to their security and law and order.

Export licence applications are rigorously assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account all prevailing circumstances at the time of application. Exports to countries with human rights issues continue to be subject to close scrutiny, in particular under Criterion Two which concerns the ‘respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination as well as respect by that country for international humanitarian law’. The Government will not issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression.

Export licences are kept under review in the light of changing international circumstances. Government can suspend or revoke extant licences when a changing situation, such as an outbreak of conflict or acts of internal repression, means the licence would no longer be consistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

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