A US-based group revealed that the UK has sold more than $20bn in weapons to countries with poor human rights records between 2011-2020.
Freedom House, a US government-funded human rights group, between 2011 and 2020 “the UK licensed £16.8bn ($23.32bn) in arms to 39 countries castigated over their poor record on human rights.”
The report pointed to the sharp rise in UK arms sales over the past few years to countries involved in serious human rights violations.
Among the biggest recipients of British arms are Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Libya — where high-profile officials have been put on the UK’s sanctions list over accusations of violations of human rights.
According to the report, the UK has sold combat aircraft, helicopters, drones, grenades, bombs and missiles to Riyadh since the start of its war on Yemen.
The report slammed the UK government’s double standards in dealing with foreign countries.
The London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) also criticised the UK’s double standards on trade policy.
“These arms sales are not just numbers, they have consequences,” Andrew Smith, of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (Caat).
“As long as arms company profits are put ahead of human rights, then these atrocities and abuses will continue unabated.
“The UK government is always telling us about the important role that it plays on the world stage, which is precisely why these arms sales need to stop.”
Earlier this month, human rights groups expressed outrage after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted Bahrain’s crown prince but failed to discuss the Gulf state’s dire human rights record.
The rights groups accused Johnson of putting ‘putting trade over torture’ in seeking a deal with Gulf state.
The meeting was ‘regarded as a clear and unambiguous sign of support by the dictatorship.’