chapter  7
Human rights violations in the UK
ByTheéodore H MacDonald
Pages 21

The whole purpose of the arms trade is to promote more effective ways of killing people. It should therefore come as no great surprise that it is often associated with egregious levels of violations of human rights. The UK’s political leaders, of both major political parties, frequently comment on their commitment to poverty reduction, stability and human rights. This chapter looks at the role of the UK as a leading player in the arms trade scandal – for that is really what it is. The arms trade in the UK, even when the actual sales are really mediated through private companies, is mediated by government in the shape of the Defence Export Services Organization (DESO). Amnesty International describes the overall human rights situation in Saudi Arabia as ‘dire.’ In 2004 a licensing system came into force in support of which the government set up a Human Trafficking Centre with a mandate to prevent human trafficking.