CAAT and TAPOL Call for Immediate Re-imposition of Ban on Arms Sales
Campaign Against Arms Trade and TAPOL, the Indonesia Human Rights Campaign are demanding an immediate re-imposition of the arms embargo on Indonesia. Reports in today’s Independent state that British-made armoured vehicles have been used by Indonesian armed forces in support of Muslim militants against the Christian population. This is further evidence of the involvement of the armed forces in fuelling the devastating communal conflict in the Malukan islands.
A letter from John Battle, Foreign Office Minister, to TAPOL in March this year stated:
Indonesia is on notice that if we see a repetition of the type of state violence perpetuated in East Timor, we will move swiftly to reimpose restrictive measures. The letter goes on to say that
Britain and the rest of the international community need to be underpinning, not undermining, Indonesia’s emerging democracy at this important time.
Rachel Harford of CAAT said:
Once again UK military equipment is being used for repressing civilians. We have been here before – is the UK Government going to once again wait until thousands more die, as it did in East Timor, before it finally imposes an arms embargo?
She continued: ‘The Foreign Office is trying to dismiss the use of the Saladins as very old equipment – if they are still in use they must be receiving spares for upgrading. According to the government’s 1998 Annual Report on Strategic Arms Exports, licences have been signed for spares to Indonesia. Unfortunately the annual report does not give us sufficient information to know what the spares are for – the Government urgently needs to tackle the lack of transparency with regard to arms sales.
A delegation from Indonesia will be attending Farnborough International, the military air show (July 24th – 30th).
Contact Rachel Harford at CAAT on 020 7281 0297 or 0958 449 006.
Contact Paul Barber at TAPOL on 01420 80153