Monday, April 02, 2007

Time to stop trading in torture

It is time for action. Time for the DTI to close loopholes in our export controls that allow companies to trade in equipment that can be used for torture to be closed. Items involved include wall handcuffs, spiked batons known as ‘sting sticks’ and interrogation equipment such as specially designed foot heaters, which can heat to 200 degrees Celsius. The current list of banned (or controlled) items does not cover these items and using such a 'list' system will not prevent these and other new or dual use items from being used to facilitate acts of torture.

Good work has been done by the UK Government to outlaw the trade in such goods, both through our own export controls, but also more widely within the EU but it is now time to close this loophole and ensure that during the review of the Export Control Act later this year, that the government amends its legislation and develops a 'catch all clause' to prevent torture equipment ending up with potential abusers. Such a provision already exists for weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This means that the supply of any goods for use in WMD programmes are prohibited, irrespective of whether they are named on a specific control list, but where there are reasonable suspicions that they may be used in the development of these weapons.

Please join me, Amnesty International and other human rights organisations in urging the government to introduce a "catch-all" clause to control the export of all types of 'torture equipment' and to encourage other European countries to do likewise.

1 comment:

Tom Papworth said...

That time was long, long ago. Mark Thomas has been pointing this out for a decade at least. It is a sickening trade.