The Acts of the Democracies




UK Arms Trade

Since 1996, the UK arms industry has been the second largest in the world (after the USA). More than 25% of the world's arms are supplied by the UK. In spite of the government's claim of an "ethical foreign policy", arms, spare parts and training are sold to several brutal and undemocratic regimes around the world.

Indonesia receives most of its arms from the UK including ground attack aircraft, surface to air missiles, Tribal class frigates, communications equipment (from Marconi), armoured vehicles, riot control vehicles, automatic weapons (from British Aerospace) and military training for pilots. Amnesty International has described the Indonesian military as "organised to deal with domestic rather than international threats". Since 1965, over 1,000,000 people have died from government suppression.

The UK company Mil-Tac armed the Hutu militia in Zaire. The weapons were used in the genocide of the Tutsis.

In Turkey, Land Rover vehicles, missiles and guns used against the Kurdish population are supplied by the UK. These weapons have claimed over 20,000 lives.

The UK also supplies arms to Nigeria which is using them against the Ogoni people in their oil rich region, and military training to forces from Guatemala which has used death squads against its own people for 40 years.

The UK (along with the USA) supplied arms to both sides of the war between Iraq and Iran in which 1,000,000 people died. Having supplied India with helicopters, aircraft and anti-ship missiles the UK supplied Pakistan with the same items.

The people of the UK pay for military development and research as 50% of all government development funds are allocated to "defence". Much of UK "aid" to countries is in the form of Export Credits (which the UK tax payer underwrites) to allow these countries to buy arms. The risks are taken by the UK public while the profits go to the large corporations. Arms have been sold to Iraq and Malaysia under these conditions.

Aid agencies criticise the UK for a $40 million aid deal to supply a military air traffic control system by BAE Systems to Tanzania. Some government ministers have expressed concern that the deal will push one of Africa's poorest countries further into debt. UK defence experts and the World Bank argue that an air traffic control system worth $11 million would be more appropriate for a country with only 8 military aircraft. The UK aid agency, Oxfam, declares that this aid money would pay for 3,500,000 children to go to school or provide health care for 2 million people. The deal is being financed by a loan of $60 million by Barclays Bank.

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