Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Arfon Hywel Williams has written to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, calling on the UK government to immediately stop the sale of tear gas and rubber bullets to the United States, or risk being complicit in further violence.
Mr Williams' intervention follows increasing tensions across the USA with police forces brutally repressing peaceful protesters following the murder of George Floyd by police.
Mr Williams said the UK government should follow the example of previous administrations by suspending the sale of tear gas and rubber bullets to countries that misuse them, as was done during violence in Hong Kong a year ago.
Hywel Williams MP said,
‘Over the past week, people across the world have watched in horror at events in the United States, where police forces have brutally repressed peaceful protesters following the murder of George Floyd by police.’
‘This week the Foreign Secretary described the violence against Black Lives Matter protesters as ‘distressing’, ‘sobering and troubling’ but fell short of stating what steps the government will take in response.’
‘The UK government must explicitly condemn President Trump’s use of force, including the threat of lethal military action, against his own citizens. To be silent in the face of such a blatant misuse of force is to be complicit.’
‘The government should immediately freeze all policing and security equipment export licences to the United States where there is a clear risk of further misuse.’
‘As Amnesty International, among others, have pointed out, UK Government records show it grants export licences worth millions of pounds for the sale of anti-crowd gas, riot equipment, rubber bullets and other arms to the US.’
‘Arms export guidelines introduced in 1997 say licences should not be approved if the equipment could be used for ‘internal repression’ or ‘provoke or prolong armed conflicts or aggravate tensions in the destination country’.
'It is the government’s duty to ensure that the UK does not – directly or indirectly – contribute to internal repression in the United States.'
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