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Gordon MP questions Foreign Secretary over arms exports

By Kyle Ritchie

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Gordon MP Richard Thomson has questioned Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over arms exports to countries which the UK Government itself has categorised as having concerns over human rights issues.

The Human Rights and Democracy report provides an assessment of the global human rights situation, and sets out the UK Government’s work to advance human rights throughout the world.

It lists countries where there are particular concerns about human rights issues, and where it considers that the UK can make a real difference.

However, the UK is also a major arms exporter to 23 of the countries listed as having questionable human rights records.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Thomson said: “Earlier this month the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office published its human rights and democracy report, which lists in total 31 human rights priority countries.

"The UK Government currently grant licences to sell arms to 23 out of those 31 countries. How can the granting of those licences be reconciled with any meaningful commitment on the part of the UK Government to improve the human rights of those who live in those countries?”

Gordon MP Richard Thomson.
Gordon MP Richard Thomson.

Commenting afterwards, Mr Thomson said: “I receive many e-mails and letters from constituents who tell me that this is a matter of real concern to them.

"My constituents will have been disappointed by the Secretary of State’s reply which was something of a non-response and did not address the specific point I raised.

"I will therefore continue to raise this matter on behalf of my constituents.”

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