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G8 'still sells arms to regimes'

BBC News | June 22, 2005

Countries from the G8 group of wealthy nations have been accused of continuing to sell arms to regimes using them to abuse human rights.

The claim comes in a report published by the Control Arms Campaign - a group made up of organisations including Oxfam and Amnesty International.

It has been timed to coincide with a London meeting of G8 foreign ministers.

This week's meeting is due to discuss the adoption of a UK proposal for an International Arms Trade Treaty.

G8 weapons have been exported to countries including Sudan, the Republic of Congo, Colombia and the Philippines, according to the report.

Irresponsible arms exports are undermining the commitments of member countries to poverty reduction, human rights and stability, it adds.

Oxfam's Simon Grey said the campaign was calling for a "responsible arms trade".

"We're not calling for a ban and, in actual fact, in the UK we have the support of the Defence Manufacturer's Association, the arms industry's representatives," he told BBC News.

"We're calling for tough controls on the arms trade so that the number of 500,000 people killed each year from armed violence can be reduced"

- Oxfam

"We're calling for tough controls on the arms trade so that the number of 500,000 people killed each year from armed violence can be reduced."

Copies delivered

The report points out what it sees as failings in arms export controls common across many G8 countries.

It says that, between January 2003 and June 2004, the UK licensed exports of arms to countries with major human rights concerns, including Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Israel.

And it says Canada has exported light armoured vehicles and helicopters to Saudi Arabia and handguns and aircraft to the Philippines.

Amnesty International and Oxfam plan to drive a one tonne tank through central London on Wednesday to deliver copies of the document to the embassies of the G8 nation.

The campaign, which also includes the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), would like to see an International Arms Trade Treaty in place by next year.

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