Commenting on a review of arms export in light of recent events, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt today said:
“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Bahrain and the events which have led to the deaths of several protestors.
Under the legislative regime set up in 2000, exports to Bahrain were governed by the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, which are administered by the Department for BIS. There has been no change to the Criteria since the general election.
As a result of the changing situation in Bahrain, we have conducted an immediate and rapid review of UK export licences. With advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the licensing authority has taken a decision to revoke 24 individual licences and 20 open licences for Bahrain.
A separate decision has also been taken to revoke eight individual licences for Libya. The review of export licences to the wider region, including Yemen, is ongoing.
This Government takes extremely seriously its export control responsibilities. Britain has some of the most rigorous export controls in the World. All export licence applications are considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and UK export licensing criteria and in the light of prevailing circumstances, paying particular attention to allegations of human rights abuses.
The longstanding British position is clear: We will not issue licences where we judge there is a clear risk that the proposed export might provoke or prolong regional or internal conflicts, or which might be used to facilitate internal repression.
We have no evidence of British equipment being used in the unrest in Bahrain.”