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Electronic Surveillance: Honduras

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN 127539, tabled on 8 February 2018

To ask the secretary of state for international trade whether he has made an assessment as to whether the telecommunications interception equipment licensed to Honduras on 17 August 2017 and 19 December 2016 has been used by the authorities in their recent surveillance-led crack down against dissidents following November's disputed election; and whether he plans to revoke licences for strategic goods to that country.

Answered on

20 February 2018

All export licence applications are considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria based on the most up-to-date information and analysis available at the time, including reports from NGOs and our overseas network. We will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the Consolidated Criteria. In particular, we assessed both licences against Criterion 2(a) – whether there is a clear risk that the goods might be used for internal repression.

Each application must be supported by an undertaking from the end-user which sets out the intended purpose of the goods. This undertaking is considered as part of the overall assessment process but we do not rely solely on assurances given by the recipient state in deciding whether or not to grant a licence. As part of our assessment under Criterion 2 we consider all relevant information, including the behaviour of the end user with regard to respect for human rights. In this case, as part of the assessment, the British Embassy in Honduras was consulted thoroughly on the end user and stated end use.

The first licence granted in December 2016 was for a temporary export for demonstration purposes; a condition of the licence was that the goods were returned to the UK within 12 months, this licence has now expired. Our records show that the licence granted in August 2017 has not been used and currently no goods have yet been shipped. I therefore do not consider that the goods licensed for export could have been used against protestors.

No licences have been revoked or suspended for Honduras. We are keeping the situation under careful review.

I am withholding the name of the exporter because information on export licence applicants is confidential.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.