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Stop Arms Deal Campaign

In synopsis, the lucrative business of the foreign traditional arms constitutes nearly all states within the global sphere. Over the world, the lives of different individuals continually face irrevocable alterations and challenges due to the impacts of the utilization of destructive weapons such as war tanks, guns as well as missiles. Consequently, it is impossible to deny the considerably negative effects that these weapons impose on any society regardless of its level of development. Accordingly, these crude weapons possess the ability to generate and institute a lethal and present threat that is liable for the demise of hundreds of thousands of people every year. Regardless of this sensitive information, developed countries continue to invest heavily in the trade without considering the adverse effects that such business imposes on the general population. For this reason, the Stop Arms Deal Campaign has focused on establishing a stance against the international arms trade, which experiences considerable proliferation as an outcome of the actions of one of the largest weapons traders, the United Kingdom.

Overview of the Stop Arms Deals Campaign

Indeed, the Stop Arms Deals Campaign is a movement that targets the British government in relation to its considerable improvement in the development and sale of weapons. The campaign attempts to influence the respective government to enhance its regulations based on the purchaser of the arms. In addition to this, the crusade seeks to push for reforms regarding the vetting process utilized by the political administration in order to determine which buyer will receive the weapons. The main reason for this is the use of weapons negatively among warring nations because of Britain’s actions. Moreover, the Stop Arms Deals Campaign also supports the institution of authentic policies aimed at implementing and applying the moral and ethical guidelines required to facilitate the selling of arms to other countries. The concerns raised vehemently by the movement are credible and rational. This is due to the internal strife and conflicts as well as the deaths of innocent civilians, which arise from the use of arms sold by the British to these nations.

British Involvement in Perpetuation of Human Rights Abuses

Consequently, Britain engages significantly in the global arms trade. Part of the major reason for its involvement in this business is due to the profitability it generates for the British economy. According to Sengupta (2013), there are more than 3000 export licenses for intelligence and military equipment, which already possess approval from the government. In addition to this, these licenses are worth a sum of £12.3 billion. Based on these figures, it is understandable why Britain contributes significantly to the proliferation of arms globally. Nonetheless, the issue of the respective trade does not lie on its positive financial impact but rather on the morality aspect. Indeed, most of the weapons sold by Britain, as well as other European governments, undergo utilization as tools for oppressing individuals, and suppressing the rights and privileges they possess such as the right to free speech or opinion.

In addition to this, the purchasers of these weapons further deny the civilians of their human privileges. For instance, there is evidence of a triad of present contracts that the United Kingdom possesses with oppressive states such as Syria. These contracts further allow Britain to send weaponry continually to rebels involved in the fight against the Assad political regime (Sengupta, 2013). Irrespective of this, the British government still asserts that it would not offer export licenses for products likely to undergo use in the facilitation of internal repression or the lengthening of internal or regional conflicts. However, as convincing as this statement seems, Britain has proved contradictory to it by providing military equipment consistently to countries involved in the abuse of human rights. An illustration of this contradiction is in accordance to the 62 export licenses that Iran possesses from the British government.

Undeniably, these licenses possessed by Iran enable the Iranian government to acquire extensive cryptology equipment from the United Kingdom. Apart from Iran, Russia also has 271 licenses from the British government. These licenses feature sniper rifles, biotechnology paraphernalia, laser weapon systems, drones as well as weapon sights (Sengupta, 2013). As an outcome of the acquisition of these weapons, both nations have involved themselves in the provision of extensive weaponry to affiliates of the Revolutionary Guards of the Iran, as well as President Assad, in order to facilitate regime militants in Syria. The result of this is the long-term conflict that is ongoing in Syria that has led to 130, 433 reported deaths as of the end of 2013 (Reuters, 2013). Based on this demoralizing predicament, it is possible to assert that the British government has supplied weapons that have led to internal repression and prolonged conflicts contrary to what it aimed initially.

Moreover, the British government consistently supplies weapons to countries that are perceptible as human rights violators within the international community. For instance, Business Secretary, Vince Cable, recently approved 1163 weapons licenses, which were worth £1.8 billion to the Chinese republic (Sengupta, 2013). These licenses also include cryptography equipment, military communications paraphernalia, weapon sights and body armor. Accordingly, the weapons supplied to China may actually undergo use for internal repression (Drury, 2013). In addition to this, the British government also possesses export licenses with Saudi Arabia, which are worth £1.8 billion. In addition to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, Britain has also been responsible for the provision of military hardware such as cryptography equipment to Israel. The value of this respective order was £7.7 billion. The supply of this equipment to Israel has further raised fears that such paraphernalia will face utilization against Palestinians by the respective government.

Based on the available evidence, it is evident that the British government, under the direction of Prime Minister David Cameron, has engaged in support of human rights violations contrary to its stance against such breaches. Regardless of this, the government maintains that it supports the propagation of human rights. However, such a declaration warrants further scrutiny especially with its involvement in the provision of arms to military despots. Britain has supplied weaponry and military equipment to dictatorial tyrants such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, as well as Bashar al-Assad of Syria even though they are present in its particular blacklist. The supplies of armored vehicle components worth £143000 in Syria have facilitated the deaths of 100000 individuals due to the conflict between anti-regime demonstrators and Assad’s military troops (Drury, 2013).

In addition to its involvement in the arms trade, it is also evident that the British government has vended weapons to nations within its blacklist due to human rights violations. Accordingly, the value of the weapons amounted to £12 billion and constituted crowd control paraphernalia, tear gas, sniper rifle, bullets, machine guns and military vehicles. These weapons were availed to 27 authoritarian governments. Indeed, based on this, it is evident that Britain has further illustrated its non-adherence towards the support of human rights and democracy. This is because of the supply of arms such as crowd-control equipment, which are in essence, used for suppressing the democratic privileges of civilians. Hence, by availing such weapons to these authoritarian regimes, it is certain that the Prime Minister David Cameron does not consider the negative implications that are arising from the utilization of these arms especially in countries suspected for human rights breaches.

Proposal Forwarded by the Stop Arms Deals Campaign

Provision of Watertight Guarantees by Purchasing States

Based on the negative impacts that the weapons cause, the Stop Arms Deals Campaign proposes restriction on the sale of weapons to these countries. Accordingly, the sale should only occur if the British government provides watertight guarantees to the states. The purpose of this is to ensure that the weapons supplied to the countries will not undergo internal use. Moreover, the guarantees will also act as guidelines that require the countries to illustrate a considerable improvement in human rights records. The main reason for the provision of watertight guarantees is due to the British government’s involvement in the perpetuation of bloody conflicts. Particularly, Britain’s weapons have been within the midst of a number of the bloodiest disputes within the past few years. Undeniably, most of the arms have undergone exportation to Libya during the tenure of Muammar Gaddafi, as well as to Bahrain in which the respective government executed heavy violence against demonstrators (The Huffington Post UK, 2012).

In addition to this, the watertight guarantees will also ensure that the British government acts ethically and morally in relation to the provision of weaponry to other countries. For instance, availing arms to states such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is unethical. This is according to their involvement in the violation of human rights, which according to the British Prime Minister, is wrong. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has exercised involvement in a number of breaches for the privileges inherently accorded to its citizens. For instance, in 2009, the nation’s air force utilized British-supplied Tornado fighter-bombers in the Yemeni attacks. The outcome of these conflicts led to the demises of thousands of citizens. Within the same year, the Saudi Forces conducted an attack in the township of al-Nadir. The attack led to the death of many individuals within a single extended family to the point that it was mandatory to build a cemetery (The Huffington Post UK, 2012).

Irrespective of these atrocities, the United Kingdom has continued to supply more arms to the country. Furthermore, the British government has also engaged in the exportation of weapons and military paraphernalia to regimes within these nations largely contradicting its stand on peace and democratic rights (The Huffington Post UK, 2012). Nevertheless, even though this issue is rather controversial, Cameron continues to state that the supply of arms is relevant towards the reinforcement of foreign relations between the United Kingdom and Gulf States (The Huffington Post UK, 2012). However, even in augmenting such relations, the issuance of watertight guarantees is significant. This is because it will ensure that the United Kingdom ceases from proliferating human rights abuses and simultaneously, enhance its relationship with members of the Middle Eastern region.

Restricting the Sale of Weapons

Accordingly, the campaign also necessitates the need for the British government to cease from the selling of arms. However, performing this claim is difficult based on the dependence of the economy on the income that the sector generates. In addition to this, ceasing the supply of weaponry will also lead to a mass lay-off of thousands of workers employed in the arms industry. According to Cameron, the arms sector provides 300000 jobs for individuals across the nation (Beckett, 2013). Based on this, it is practically impossible to discredit arms trade without having a major economic impact on the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, it is still unjustifiable to continue selling weapons at the expense of innocent lives. As noted before, hundreds of thousands of lives have perished because of the use of weapons supplied majorly by the British government. Hence, it should be the mandate of the British government to ensure the safety of innocent civilians since it is also responsible for the proliferation of arms used to violate human rights.

Furthermore, it is also unwarrantable to equate the lives of blameless people to jobs. Indeed, the British government can still lay off workers in the arms industry in order to shut down the assembly of these weapons. Even though retrenching workers seems far-fetched, it is a reasonable supposition in an effort to restrict the sale of weapons. Indeed, the statement that the arms sector facilitates 300000 jobs is insufficiently irrefutable than it seems. This is because it constitutes only a single percent of the British workforce. Based on the statistics of the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), two times as many British citizens have jobs in food and beverage manufacturing (Beckett, 2013). With respect to the assertion, it is evident that laying-off workers within the arms industry may not cause a significant negative impact on the British economy.


It is difficult to account for the numerous injuries and deaths that the British government has influenced due to its sale of arms to warring countries. Nevertheless, it is still evident that the proliferation of arms especially in the Gulf States results in a number of human rights violations. Even though the United Kingdom implies that it does not condone breaches of human privileges, it contradicts itself based on the manner it avails weapons and other armed paraphernalia at a consistent and ever-increasing rate in politically unstable states. Hence, it is the sole purpose of the Stop Arms Deals Campaign to gain as many supporters as possible in order to end the calamities caused by the British government due to its engagement in the international arms business.


Beckett, A 2013, ‘Is Britain’s arms trade making a killing?’, The Guardian, viewed 7 January 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/18/britains-arms-trade-making-killing>.

Drury, I 2013, ‘Britain has sold £12 billion of arms to tyrants… and regimes were on government’s own blacklist, damning report reveals’, Mail Online, viewed 7 January 2014, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2366452/Britain-sold-12billion-arms-tyrants–regimes-governments-blacklist-damning-report-reveals.html>.

Reuters 2013, ‘Death toll in Syria surpasses 130,000, monitoring group says’, Huffington Post, viewed 7 January 2014, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/31/death-toll-syria_n_4524443.html>.

Sengupta, K 2013, ‘Blood money: UK’s £12.3 bn arms sales to repressive states’, The Independent, viewed 7 January 2014, <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/blood-money-uks-123bn-arms-sales-to-repressive-states-8711794.html>.

The Huffington Post UK 2012, ‘David Cameron under fire over Gulf arms deals with UAE, Saudi Arabia’, Huffington Post, viewed 7 January 2014, <http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/05/david-cameron-gulf-arms-trade_n_2075598.html>.

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