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Instruments Of Torture

Volume 202: debated on Thursday 23 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are currently taken by his Department to prevent the export of instruments of torture.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will make it his policy to include exports of equipment used for executions within the remit of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1989;(2) if he will make it his policy to ban any exports from the United Kingdom of any equipment designed for use in the torture or ill treatment of prisoners or the carrying out of executions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what powers he has to control the manufacture, sale and export of equipment used for execution and torture; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what is his policy on the manufacture and export of prisoner disorientation equipment;(2) what is his policy on the exports of instruments of torture including electronic torture chambers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what export licences are required prior to the export of equipment which could be used for torture or execution;(2) if he will introduce a ban on the manufacture of equipment which can only be used for torture or for the purpose of execution.(3) if he will press the European Commission for further European action to control the export of equipment which is likely to be used for internal repression or torture purposes only.

(4) if he will consider taking further measures to prevent British companies exporting equipment which can only be used for torture or for the purpose of execution.

My Department has received a copy of the Amnesty International report "Repression Trade (UK) Ltd" to which we will respond after careful study. The Government deplore the use of any equipment knowingly exported for the use of torture and other such violations of human rights. The Export of Goods (Control) Order 1991 provides for the control of the export of leg irons, shackles and gang chains. I confirmed on 17 October (Official Report, cols 200–201) the Government's long-held policy that no exports of these items will be permitted.I announced at the same time measures to control certain oversized handcuffs with a linking chain which were usable as leg irons. Electronic equipment of the type which, it is alleged, has been used for torture is widely available and has many innocent uses. We will also consider Amnesty International's request for controls on the export of death penalty equipment.There is no legislation controlling the manufacture of this equipment.