CAAT Disappointed with Export Bill

CAAT are concerned that there are too few measures in the government’s export bill to combat problems caused by arms trading. The primary legislation announced today appears to be the start of a lost opportunity.

The most immediate concern is the lack of an attempt to control licensed production abroad. Also, end-use controls are not included in the Bill.

CAAT spokesperson Richard Bingley said:

Serious measures need to be introduced to address both of these legislative chasms, or UK arms will continue to pour into areas of conflict and human rights abuse.

CAAT welcome the tightening of controls towards arms brokering and look forward to the Strategic Exports Annual Report containing information on technical assistance. More information needs to be published in the report to make the military exports system more accountable and manageable.

The Bill also fails to introduce a system of prior parliamentary scrutiny of arms export licenses as recommended consistently by the parliamentary Quadripartite Committee.

CAAT initially welcomed a bill being tabled. CAAT’s spokesperson added:

This is the first chance we’ve had to overhaul the UK’s archaic, 60 year old, strategic export licensing laws. So far it appears the concerns of the 1996 Scott enquiry have not have been at all allayed. The real risk is that people notice the bill, assume progress is being made, and conclude NGO’s such as CAAT are being fastidious. The truth is secondary legislation needs to be much more serious and wide-ranging.

For further information please contact Richard Bingley on 020 7281 0297 or 07947 230426.

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