The UK has been criticised for selling military equipment worth millions of pounds to the politically volatile Venezuela in the last decade, prompting calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to suspend controlled export licences, the media reported. Government figures on Friday showed military equipment was approved for sale from UK-based companies to Venezuela’s armed forces as recently as September last year, despite the Foreign Office listing the country as “of concern” regarding human rights, reports the Guardian. Overall, 2.5 million pounds ($3 million) of military goods have been sold to the country since 2008, including components for military radar, weapon sights and military aircraft engines. In the last year of figures, to March 2016, licences for goods worth over 80,000 pounds ($103,440) were approved, including equipment for crowd control to be used by law enforcement agencies. Andrew Smith, from Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), said: “These licences should never have been agreed in the first place, particularly not considering Venezuela is on the UK government’s own countries of concern list for human rights and democracy.”
The CAAT pointed to a higher total of 4.1 billion pounds ($5 billion) of military equipment going to 22 of the 30 countries on the human rights list of concern since the Conservative government came to power in 2015.