ICFUAE | International Campaign For Freedom in the UAE

ICFUAE | International Campaign For Freedom in the UAE
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British Surveillance Technologies Sold to the UAE

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British Surveillance Technologies Sold to the UAE

The UK -UAE trade relations over surveillance technologies are worth millions of pounds. However, the UAE has been accused of using these technologies to monitor the population, limit freedom of expression and suppress political activism. Many human rights activists have faced the dramatic consequences of this policy: among them Ahmed Mansour, 2015 Laureate Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, arrested in March for peacefully calling for the release of Emirati prisoners of conscience. 


Members of Parliament have questioned the Department for International Trade about their role in selling such technologies to the UAE.

Asked by Caroline Lucas

(Brighton, Pavilion)

Asked on: 05 July 2017

Department for International Trade

Electronic Surveillance: United Arab Emirates

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if his Department will revoke export licenses for internet and telecommunications surveillance equipment to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under Criterion 2 on grounds of recent evidence that human rights defenders have been targeted by electronic surveillance and UAE security forces have used torture in secret detention facilities in that country.

Answered by: Mark Garnier

Answered on: 14 July 2017

The Government assesses all export licence applications to the UAE on a case-by-case basis against strict criteria (the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria), taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application, including human rights considerations under Criterion 2.

The Government will not, for example, grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used for internal repression.

The Government is able to respond quickly and suspend or revoke licences if necessary by taking into account whether prevailing circumstances have changed or new information indicates an export would no longer comply with the criteria.


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