Indonesia arms deal is test case for policy

The Government's new ethical foreign policy, including strict controls on arms sales to repressive regimes, will shortly face its first critical test case - Indonesia. A new report published today calls for a major change in British policy on arms exports to that country. Licence applications for the export of more Hawk jets and armoured personnel carriers to Indonesia are due in the next few weeks.

The report, published by the Saferworld foundation, proposes two new guidelines. Licences should not be granted for any equipment that might be used for internal repression and there should be a "presumption to deny" exports to countries of "concern" such as Indonesia, unless a legitimate defence requirement can clearly be demonstrated. Instead of the Department of Trade and Industry having to prove that a country had used equipment against its own people in order to get a licence stopped, the onus would be on the country concerned to prove it really needed the arms for defence against an external aggressor.

In Indonesia's case, the report says all licences for the export of armoured personnel carriers, riot-control equipment and small arms - items which can be used in an "internal security" role - should be refused. And it recommends that the British government holds a fresh inquiry into reports that British Aerospace Hawk aircraft have been used against rebels in East Timor. British Aerospace sources have told The Independent that they have not been used in this way, and do not have the range to reach East Timor from their current bases in Sumatra and Java.

In that case, said Andy McLean, a Saferworld spokes-man, neither the British nor Indonesian governments need have anything to fear from an open inquiry.

The Indonesian Air Force has so far taken delivery of 40 BAe Hawks - jet trainers which can also be used as attack aircraft. In 1996 a further 16 Hawk 200 aircraft were ordered, but no licence appears to have been issued so far.

The Labour Party is keen to encourage the British aircraft industry, and Lord Hollick, a Labour peer and BAe board member, is influential in the party. But even if the export licence for Hawks is approved, the second element of the test case - Alvis armoured vehicles - is less likely to be approved. Indonesia has already taken delivery of 30 Scorpion-90 light tanks and 20 Stormer armoured personnel carriers, and a licence for a further 50 armoured vehicles was granted in December last year. The third stage of the order - for 22 or 23 vehicles - is expected shortly.

Given Indonesia's geographical position, vehicles of this type are most useful for small-scale fighting against insurgents. British armoured vehicles supplied in the Sixties were used against protesters in April 1996. The British government has received assurances that British-supplied defence equipment will not be used for internal repression in East Timor or Indonesia, and, in the case of the Scorpion 90s, has been given an additional assurance that they would not be used in East Timor. But there were reports that they were deployed for security in Jakarta during last year's general election.

8 British Arms Export Policy and Indonesia, Malcolm Chalmers; Saferworld, London; pounds 8.00.

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
News
i100
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey indulge in some racing at a Point to Point
tvNew pictures promise a day at the races and a loved-up Lady Rose
News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Thame i...

Graduate Project Manager

£25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Teaching Assistant Cornwall

£45 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: TEACHING ASSISTANTS REQUIRED F...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past