Arms and Refugees

Refugees fleeing countries we are arming, meeting border guards we are funding.

The UK is at the forefront of selling a whole host of military machinery and weapons to tyrants and governments to use it on their own people. Whilst at the same time companies operating border surveillance are receiving lucrative government funding, to stop the flow of people fleeing these governments. And often both the arms suppliers and the border control agencies are the same companies. According to a recent research report titled Border Wars II produced by the Transnational Institute: “They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements. Most perverse of all, it shows that some of the beneficiaries of border security contracts are some of the biggest arms sellers to the Middle East and North African region, fuelling the conflicts that are the cause of many of the refugees.” “In other words, the companies creating the crisis are then profiting from it. Moreover they have been vetted by European states who have granted the licences to export arms and have then granted them border security contracts to deal with the consequences.” The total value of the sales of the British arms industry is £65 Billion. The UK Government’s 2014-15 Human Rights and Democracy Report identified 28 “countries of concern”. In 2014, the UK approved arms export licences to 18 of these including Israel, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Despite its well documented repression and human rights abuses, Saudi Arabia has been a “priority market” for UK arms sales for over 30 years. Below is a list of refugees coming to the UK, followed by a list of the countries the UK government supplies arms to. It doesn’t take much work to see the link.

Q3 2015 Q3 2016 % change
Iran 858 770 -10%
Pakistan 755 700 -7%
Afghanistan 754 631 -16%
Iraq 645 573 -11%
Bangladesh 295 487 +65%
India 295 374 +27%
Albania 385 334 -13%
Sudan 1516 329 -78%
Syria 776 315 -59%
Eritrea 1378 272 -80%

Figures from the Refugee Council

Arms sales between 2008 and 2016
Saudi Arabia £9,446,809,258
Iran £1,849,443,809
Turkey £909,603,959
Libya £361,436,793
Pakistan £302,389,251
Qatar £285,368,321
Egypt £281,503,345
Iraq £272,866,125

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