The Government has issued more than 3,000 export licences for military and intelligence equipment worth a total of £12.3bn to countries which are on its own official list for human rights abuses.
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The existence of one licence to Israel and the Occupied Territories has not been made public until today. Worth £7.7bn, it relates to cryptographic equipment, which has dual defence and civilian use.
The scale and detail of the deals emerged after a forensic investigation by a committee of MPs, who also discovered that strategically controlled items have been sent to Iran, China, Sri Lanka, Russia, Belarus and Zimbabwe – all of which feature prominently on the Foreign Office’s list of states with worrying civil rights records.
There are even three existing contracts for Syria, notwithstanding the fact that the UK is sending equipment to rebels fighting the Assad regime and is considering arming them. There are also 57 for Argentina, which is not on the list, but which remains in confrontation with Britain over the Falklands.