Following reports that the UK has sold military equipment to countries that regularly use child soldiers or where children are targeted in warzones, the SNP’s Defence spokesperson Brendan O’Hara has called for immediate clarification on the breaches of UN protocol.

As the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI), the world’s largest arms fair, begins tomorrow (Tuesday) in London, new figures have revealed that out of 23 countries listed by the UN for grave violations against children or where child soldiers are used the UK sold military hardware to 19.

The UK has sold £2.4 million worth of military hardware to the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2010, where hundreds of children have been recruited to armed groups. Other countries which the UK have sold to despite them being listed by the UN include Pakistan, Somalia, Thailand and Colombia.

The DSEI trade fair is jointly organised by the Ministry of Defence and the private sector.

Commenting, Brendan O’Hara MP said:

“The UK Government’s record on arms trading is atrocious.

“To be involved in the sale of arms to countries where child soldiers are used or where children are targeted in warzones is completely indefensible and it is outrageous that this weapons extravaganza continues year after year courtesy of the UK Government.

“The UK Government has a responsibility to control the arms trade and to work towards stopping the supply to countries using child soldiers or violating any human rights.

“While we have millions of men, women and children desperately fleeing violence and persecution in Syria, across the Middle East and in northern Africa it is vital that we have clarification on these reports.

“The Prime Minister is only willing to take 4,000 Syrian refugees per year and is more than happy to use restrictions such as stating that the refugees must come from camps but it seems that he doesn’t care who the UK sells arms to or where they end up.”