Letter: Arms trade scandal

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The Independent Culture
Letter: Arms trade scandal

Sir: It is disappointing that the Queen's Speech contained no mention of legislation to reform Britain's arms exports system. More than three years have passed since the Scott report on the "arms to Iraq" scandal exposed grave weaknesses in Britain's arms export control regime. It is 18 months since the Sandline affair illustrated the urgent need for legislation to clamp down on arms brokering by UK citizens. And it is four months since reports emerged of UK-manufactured Hawk jets being deployed over East Timor, in direct contravention of assurances received.

Consultation on the White Paper on Strategic Export Controls has been under way since July 1998, which is quite long enough. It is essential that a new legislative framework is introduced before the general election if arms scandals are to be made a thing of the past.

PAUL EAVIS

Director, Saferworld

DAVID BRYER

Director, Oxfam

MARY ROBINSON

Director

Amnesty International UK

DAN PLESCH

Director, BASIC

DALEEP MUKARJI

Director, Christian Aid

KEVIN CLEMENTS

Secretary General

International Alert

London WC1

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