The British Government has refused licenses for weapons to be sold to Bahrain that could be used for internal repression, according to Junior Foreign Minister Alistair Burt.
In a debate in the House of Commons Labour MP Denis MacShane asked the Minister to suspend arms sales to Bahrain, adding the actions of the Bahrain Government are as ‘brutal as they ever were’.
It comes after The Independent Newspaper reported in January that Britain was resuming arms sales to Egypt and Bahrain after a brief pause.
But Minister Alistair Burt denied this claim saying, “licences for any items that could be used for internal repression have been refused. Body armour, sporting targets and rifles, and naval cannon have been sold, but these things cannot be used for internal repression.”
He added, “We support the reform process that is under way through the independent commission that is working in Bahrain, and we support all political parties in working towards a settlement and reforms there.”
Of course it’s very positive to note that UK is refusing licenses to Bahrain but Mr Burt’s words reveal a clear understanding that internal repression is indeed taking place in Bahrain.
So if Britain accepts this as a reality, the question is begged why are they not doing more to stop it from happening?
Stopping arms sales is an important step but it’s also a direct acceptance that Bahrain is violating the rights of it’s people. How great it could be if they said this clearly.