Civil society calls on UK gov’t to stop granting licenses for sales of telecom interception equipment to Honduran gov’t; UK gov't responds

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Article
11 April 2018

UK Department of Int'l Trade responds to concerns about export of telecommunications interception equipment to Honduras

Author: The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for lnternational Trade Department for lnternational Trade (UK)

...Thank you for your letter of 3 April, signed by 23 UK and Honduras human rights organisations, expressing concern that the UK Government has licensed the export of telecommunications interception equipment to Honduras. I would like to begin by assuring you that we take our export licensing responsibilities very seriously. We will only grant an export licence if to do so is consistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against these...[criteria], which provide a thorough risk assessment framework... Export licence applications include details of the intended end user and end use of the goods... On a case-by-case basis, the FCO advises DIT...assessing the risk in relation to internal repression and the situation in the recipient country... Detailed political and human rights reporting and advice is sought, if necessary, from specialist FCO departments and diplomatic posts overseas...We have kept the situation in Honduras under careful review... The UK Government has raised concerns about human rights with Hondurans...in December 2016. All licence applications...to Honduras... will continue to be assessed on a case-by-case basis... We will not authorise exports where we assess that there is a clear risk they might be used for internal repression. 

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Article
3 April 2018

Honduran & UK NGOs urge UK gov’t to stop granting licenses for sales of telecom interception equipment to Honduran gov’t

Author: Amnesty International UK, Asociación de Jueces por la Democracia & other 21 NGOs

…Honduran and UK based human rights organisations…are writing to express our dismay about the UK Government’s sanctioning of sales of telecommunications interception equipment to Honduras, given the country’s human rights situation…Firstly, we would like to draw…attention to the fact that recent NGO reports point to an alarming human rights situation…as well as targeted repression of human rights defenders…Secondly, we note that criterion two of the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria states the government should: “exercise special caution and vigilance in granting licences, on a case-by-case basis and taking account of the nature of the equipment, to countries where serious violations of human rights have been established by the competent bodies of the UN, the Council of Europe or by the European Union;”…[T]hese international bodies have frequently drawn attention to serious human rights violations in Honduras…We…consider the Government’s assertion that “the issue of the licence was consistent with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and remained so at the time of export”…to be a misrepresentation…[T]here is reason to believe that the telecommunications interception equipment are highly likely to be used for internal repression. We urge you to ensure that no further export licenses are granted to the Honduran Government for any equipment that could be used for internal repression…

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