Monday, 29 August 2011

Green leader calls on UK to "stop selling arms to repressive regimes"

23 August 2011. Caroline Lucas MP, leader of UK's Green Party, called on the UK govermnent to "stop selling arms to repressive regimes".

In response to the changing situation in Libya Caroline Lucas said: "Despite the intensified fighting in Tripoli today between rebel forces and those loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, and the confusion over the reported arrests of Gaddafi's sons, it seems certain that the Libyan dictator's days are numbered. The hope now is that the fighting will be brought to a swift end, and that Gaddafi will be made to face justice in a court of law. And the priority for the international community must be to do all it can to ensure that the pressing civilian needs for essential services and humanitarian assistance are urgently met.

"The mammoth task of rebuilding the country and providing legitimate, truly representative governance after 42 years of a dictatorship now falls to the National Transitional Council and its chairman, Mustafa Abdul Jalil - and it is crucial that these efforts are fully owned and supported across Libyan society. The process of filling the post Gaddafi void and maintaining stability as different elements compete for influence will need to be carefully managed by those who know the country - not by Western nations - if the transition is to be a peaceful and sustainable one. Furthermore, the new administration must show the Libyan people that control of the country's abundant natural resources lies in their hands only.

"Here at home, there are lessons to be learned about the UK's foreign policy. With the help of Western governments and companies acting in their own interests, Gaddafi was able to market himself as a respectable figure on the world stage. Just a few months before the uprising, our Government was still selling him weapons. If we are truly committed to upholding human rights in the region, then we must urgently review our role in the international arms trade - and stop selling arms to repressive regimes. We cannot continue to arm dictators who abuse their own citizens and then try to claim the moral high ground when addressing the conflicts that those same arms have helped to perpetuate."

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