Call for arms sales to stop as Thai dictator visits Theresa May

By agency reporter
June 20, 2018

Thailand’s junta leader, Prayuth Chan-ocha, will visit London for talks with Theresa May on 20 June 2018.

Chan-ocha took control of Thailand following a military coup in May 2014. Since then, his government has overseen a crackdown on human rights and has done little if anything to restore democratic rule or basic political freedoms.

There have been widespread accusations of torture under the junta. Since the 2014 coup, at least 105 people have been arrested for sharing critical commentary about the regime online.

Despite the ongoing crackdown, the Thai regime is on the list of ‘core markets’ for UK arms sales. This is a list of countries that civil servants and Ministers will prioritise for the promotion of arms sales.

Since the coup took place the UK government has licensed £48 million worth of arms to the Thai dictatorship, including:

  • £13 million worth of ML1 licences (small arms)
  • £11 million worth of ML4 licences (grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)
  • £9.5 million worth of ML5 licences (target acquisition, weapon control and countermeasure systems)

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "Human rights must be on top of the agenda at the meeting. This cannot become yet another photo-op for a human rights abuser on the steps of Downing Street.

"The message these arms sales send is that the UK government believes the political rights of Thai people to be less important than arms company profits and cozy relations with a dictatorship.

"The government isn't just overseeing the sale of deadly equipment, it is actively promoting it. It’s time for Theresa May to end the arms sales and call for democratic change."

* Campaign Against Arms Trade https://www.caat.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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