Playing with matches? UK security assistance and its conflict risks

From training the Somali military to providing heavy machine guns to Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State, UK personnel and either gifted or commercially sold military equipment can be found across the world. Such support in conflict-affected contexts is like using matches. In the rights hands and the right context, it can be a vital tool for addressing complex challenges. However, it requires careful handling in appropriate conditions with clear planning and safeguards in place, to avoid unwittingly starting or fuelling a fire. As the UK government promises 'armed forces overseas more often and for longer periods of time’, understanding the risks of UK security assistance matters now more than ever.

This report (and the accompanying infographic briefing) attempts to map where these risks occur, how well they are currently mitigated and what the UK needs to do to address them.

Read our report: Playing with matches? UK security assistance and its conflict risks.

Read our infographic briefing: 'Persistent Engagement', Persistent Risk: the impact of UK security assistance on rights and peace.

Read more about our work on the UK.