13 Dec 2001 : Column: 975W
Roger Casale: To ask the Secretary of State
for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what implications the terms
of UN Security Council Resolution 1373 on terrorism have for the
policy of Her Majesty's Government in respect of arms exports.
Mr. Straw: By United Nations Security Council
Resolution (UNSCR) 1373(2001) the Security Council inter alia
calls upon member states both to eliminate "the supply of
weapons to terrorists" (paragraph 2(a)) and to
"co-operate, particularly through bilateral
and multilateral arrangements and agreements, to prevent and suppress
terrorist attacks and take action against the perpetrators of
such attacks" (paragraph 3(c)).
I have therefore reviewed the Government's policy
in respect of arms exports in light of this resolution. In view
of the Government's strong continued commitment to human rights,
regional stability, and the campaign against terrorism, and taking
account of the fact that our human rights obligations are not
affected by the adoption of the resolution, I believe there is
no need to amend the consolidated criteria in order for us to
comply fully with the terms of the resolution. My detailed conclusions
are as follows:
(1) Export licensing decisions are taken
on a case by case basis against all of the consolidated EU and
national arms export licensing criteria, as set out on 26 October
2000, Official Report, column 200W, in the light of the
circumstances prevailing at the time. The last paragraph of the
preamble to the consolidated criteria states that:
"An export licence will not be issued if
the arguments for doing so are outweighed by the need to comply
with the UK's international obligations and commitments, by concern
that the goods might be used for internal repression or international
aggression, by risks to regional stability or by other considerations
as described in these criteria".
(2) Criterion two of the consolidated criteria
includes the statement that HMG:
"considers that in some cases the use of
force by a Government within its own borders, for example to preserve
law and order against terrorists or other criminals, is legitimate
and does not constitute internal repression, as long as force
is used in accordance with the international human rights standards
(3) In judging individual applications,
the Government will take account of the terms of UNSCR 1373(2001)
and will continue to pay attention to this passage in criterion
two, within the discretion provided by the consolidated criteria.
(4) The consolidated criteria already state
that, when considering export licence applications, the Government
will take account of the record of the buyer country with regard
"its support or encouragement of terrorism
and international organised crime"
(criterion six (a)) and that
"the Government will pay particular attention
to the need to avoid diversion of UK exports to terrorist organisations".
(criterion seven). This makes clear our commitment
to preventing arms exported from the UK from falling into the
hands of terrorists.
(5) We are taking additional steps to strengthen
our export controls. The Export Control Bill currently going through
Parliament gives the Government a number of new powers which will
help to improve our ability to prohibit the transfer of arms or
related technology to terrorists, including new powers to control
the transfer of technology by intangible means and trafficking
and brokering in arms. We are aiming to sign the UN Firearms Protocol
soon and will encourage others to do so, and have proposed bringing
forward analysis of the OSEC's information exchange on the marking
of small arms. These steps will help us to keep small arms out
of terrorists' hands by helping us to trace weapons flows and
to combat the illicit manufacture and trafficking in firearms.
(6) Finally, the new Anti-terrorism, Crime
and Security Bill includes clauses to close the gaps in our present
legislation relating to chemical, nuclear and biological weapons
to prevent the use, production, possession or participation in
unauthorised transfers of these materials.