Trade in Torture Goods

Thank you for contacting me about the trade in torture goods.

The Prime Minister has been clear, the British Government does not sanction torture. Torture is banned under international law and the UK calls on all states to investigate any complaints of torture swiftly and openly.

The main legal basis for controls on ‘torture’ goods is the EU Regulation on Products used for Capital Punishment and Torture. This regulation is part of EU law and is directly applicable in all EU countries, including the UK. These regulations will continue to apply after the UK has left the European Union.

The EU Torture Regulation details measures to regulate trade in specific equipment. This includes a ban on the export and import of equipment that could only be used for torture or capital punishment and a ban on related technical assistance.

In the UK, the Export Control Organisation within the Department for International Trade works closely with defence sales events to ensure that exhibitors and attendees are aware of their legal obligations in respect of illegal torture equipment. I am pleased that in addition to this, HM Revenue and Customs have appropriate powers to take a range of enforcement action if controls are breached or there is an allegation that controls have been breached.