Dear Dr Fox,
We, the undersigned, are Honduran and UK based human rights organisations. We 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. Furthermore, we were alarmed to learn that the export of this equipment was allowed despite the question of human rights compliance being raised multiple times in Parliament. We urge you to ensure that no further export licences are granted to the Honduran Government for any equipment that could be used for internal repression.
On 8 February, The Guardian revealed that the UK granted export licences for telecommunications interception equipment to be sold to the Honduran Government just before the elections. On 20 February, in response to a written question regarding the licences, the Rt. Hon. Graham Stuart on behalf of the UK Government stated that: “all export licence applications are considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria based on the most up-to-date information and analysis available at the time, including reports from NGOs and our overseas network.”
Firstly, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that recent NGO reports point to an alarming human rights situation in the country as well as targeted repression of human rights defenders (HRDs), including through illegal surveillance: