Cameron accused of hypocrisy on Arab spring

26 May 2011 - 5:09pm
Press release

PM slated on human rights over arms sales to region

British prime minister David Cameron today faced charges of hypocrisy over support for pro-democracy uprisings in some Arab countries while backing arms sales to others which abuse human rights.

The accusations came from the anti-poverty charity War on Want as the PM and other leaders of the G8, the world’s biggest economies, gathered in the French resort of Deauville.

Reports suggest Cameron will endorse financial and political support for Arab states in north Africa and the Middle East.

But War on Want campaigns and policy director Greg Muttitt said: “Before people overthrew dictatorial regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, the British government remained happy to sanction weapons deals with both countries, as well as Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. These included sniper rifles and crowd control agents, such as tear gas.” [1]

He added: “Although ministers belatedly revoked arms licences to some of these countries when their security forces attacked pro-freedom demonstrators, Cameron still took UK weapons contractors to other undemocratic Arab states in February.

“It is nothing short of hypocrisy for the prime minister to back Arab uprisings in some countries, but allow British firms to sell arms which may be used to quell neighbouring democracy movements.”

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7324 5054 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

NOTE FOR EDITORS: 1. Financial Times, 5 April 2011, Arms sales to Arab states under fire.


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