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Arms Trade: Colombia

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN HL6712, tabled on 10 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the killing of human rights defenders in Colombia and recent reports of illegal surveillance by Colombian Military Intelligence on civil society organisations, whether they are reassessing the licensing of UK arms exports, including cryptographic equipment, to Colombia.

Answered on

20 July 2020

There are no extant licences granted for Colombia that may be used for such surveillance.

For context, all export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade (DIT) receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any items.

Assessments under Criterion 2 in particular include the respect of rights and freedoms in the country of final destination. A licence will not be issued if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including where there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression. Accordingly, we continue to monitor global developments closely and are able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, in line with the Consolidated Criteria.