Sunday, April 27, 2003

In a couple of recent postings I've mentioned America's failure to sign the Ottawa Treaty on the production, stockpiling and use of landmines as well of reports of American involvement in landmine production.

However, last May the BBC pointed to a British connection in the landmine trade.

A Today programme investigation claimed that a Derbyshire company, PW defence Limited offered to sell a reporter a batch of fragmentation grenades and trip wires, which are banned under the Ottawa Convention and outlawed in the UK under the 1998 Land Mines Act.

In response to the investigation, PW Defence's owners, the Chemring Group, issued the following statement:
"Chemring maintains policies and procedures to ensure compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements, including proper vetting of proposed sales. Chemring ceased manufacture and sale of this type of tripwire five years ago. We subsequently ceased manufacture of this type of fragmentation grenade and the final sale was made in May 1999."

However, the campaign group Landmine Action said: “We have solid proof that at the very least PW Defence have been actively marketing anti-personnel landmines....That a British company should flout this ban is not only criminal but also inhumane." Landmine Action also accused the British government of not doing enough to implement the UK's obligations under the Ottawa Treaty.

Related Articles
BBC News Online -- Police to probe landmine 'sales'
Guardian -- UK firm accused of selling landmines
Landmine Action Press Release -- ‘Attempt to sell illegal landmines’ – new evidence contradicts UK company’s claims

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