LibLink: Jeremy Browne and Nick Harvey on an International Arms Trade Treaty

Over at Comment is Free today, Jeremy Browne and Nick Harvey argue for the need for an international arms trade treaty, and that Britain must lead its creation:

On Monday the second round of negotiations to establish an international arms trade treaty (ATT) began at the United Nations headquarters in New York. These negotiations, and the need for better regulation of the arms trade, could not be timelier.

The courage displayed in the popular uprisings across the Middle East and north Africa over the last month has been fascinating and inspiring. But the shocking retaliatory brutality, especially of the Libyan government, has rightly provoked outrage across the globe, and it is a difficult idea to stomach that for years the previous government sold defence equipment, like teargas and crowd control ammunition, to an unsuitable regime like Gaddafi’s. Whether or not it is the very same British-made equipment being used in the repression, the potential consequences of our trade in arms should give us all pause for thought.

As the prime minister stated almost two weeks ago, this country has some of the toughest arms export controls in the world governing our trade in defence equipment. When processing export licences for arms, Britain considers and evaluates the risks and possible consequences of those sales. We consider factors like regional instability, internal repression, human rights violations as well as the possible effects on our allies and our own security. When situations change, we change accordingly. In response to the violent crackdowns in Libya and Bahrain, the Foreign Office revoked their export licences.

Their article goes on to describe the possible parameters for such a treaty, pointing out that many of the 192 UN member states are still sceptical of such a treaty.

You can read the full article, and its comments, at Comment is Free.

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This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • Some might find it odd that you choose to lead with this rather than the Murdoch capitulation.

    The Browne and Harvey escapade strikes me as the sum total of Lib Dem influence in Government. The Party knows it will have no say in the matter, so they send out 2 back-benchers to get a piece published in the ever-friendly Guardian, hoping that it will satisfy the few remaining loyalists enough so that when nothing else happens, no-one notices.

  • Cuse

    It is safer to assume that a LD MP is a minister as they seem to virtually all be part of the payroll vote which perhaps explains the supine behaviour in the Commons

    I would also like to see some articles on;

    i. O’Donnell’s comments on SpAds
    ii. Cameron suggesting a military attack on Libya, even upsetting the Americans
    iii. The Murdoch situation

    These pieces may be interesting to read and comment on but there are other, more important things ongoing at the moment.

  • @Cuse

    Not at all surprised. I’ve returned to this site after a couple of weeks break and the majority of posts seem to revolve around internal liberal matters or local politics.

    I’m not sure the reason … But the number of comments against each article is way down. Accident or design ?

  • “ever-friendly Guardian”

    Up till that point you were sort of credible!

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