Arms Trade Action 2017-2018
Pray and Protest: Day of action On the arms fair.
It’s that time of the year again when, amongst others, oppressive regimes from around the world descend on London ExCeL for weapons shopping spree - including torture equipment! Once again, London will host the world’s largest arms fair this summer.The biannual DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) arms fair is jointly organised by the Ministry of Defence and the private sector, where billions worth of deadliest and most advanced weapons were sold to repressive and oppressive regimes. The international arms trade is big business, and obviously, it is money-spinner for the UK. But at what cost?
The UK’s record on arms trading is appalling, and its lucrative arms trade come at the cost of political oppression and human rights violations. Britain actively invites countries where child soldiers are used to attending the arms fair right here in London. In 2015 it was revealed that the UK sells to 19 out of 23 countries listed by the UN for using child soldiers – including Congo, Somalia, and Colombia.
There is a fundamental conflict between the desire to generate profits from selling arms and the ethical reasons for not selling and promoting weapons capable of inflicting widespread suffering and destruction on innocent victims. And it’s shameful and indeed supremely immoral and hypocritical for a country that prides itself on being a leader in human rights and democracy to then get involved in fuelling war, instability and suffering around the world. The hypocrisy is quite obvious, when as the second biggest arms dealer in the world, Britain sells arms to anyone with sufficient funds including 22 of the 30 countries the British government itself listed as ‘countries of concern’ due to their human rights’ records. It cannot be ignored the fact that these countries do buy arms to be used for internal repression rather than self-defence.
The Government has also ignored calls to stop selling weapons to repressive regimes, including Saudi Arabia, which has been accused by the UN of potentially committing war crimes in its military operation in Yemen, where the Saudis are accused of targeting and killing thousands of civilians including children and destroying vital infrastructures leaving 12 million Yemenis teetering on the edge of famine.
Pray and protest with us at the DSEI’s Arms Trade Fair event at ExCel this September.
It’s going to be business as usual at ExCeL for DSEi this year, and once again it’s time for us to unite in prayer and but also to speak up and let participants of DSEi know that It’s not OK profiteering at the expense of innocent victims. Come join us for a silent vigil with No Faith in War on Tuesday 5th September when a coalition of faith and campaign groups will gather for a day of worship, prayer and non-violent resistance, as arms and arms dealers arrive at the exhibition centre.
Please also download our Pray and Post Card attachment below and raise your concern by signing and sending it to your MP.
OR you can email the following message to your MP through - https://www.writetothem.com
I am writing to you because I am concerned about the subsidisation of the UK arms industry, and how it fuels conflict, aids repression and harms development.
The Defence & Security Organisation (DSO) is a UK government body that exists to help the arms and security industries sell their products around the world. Located within the Department for International Trade (DIT), it is not interested in the human impact of its product: it exists purely to help arms companies sell their weapons. It promotes the sale of weapons to countries in conflict, and which abuse human rights. One of the ways it does this is by helping organise DSEI, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) a bi- annual arms trade fair in London.
Amnesty International has raised concerns about torture equipment being sold here to countries that have concerning human rights records, including Saudi Arabia.
“This is a deeply disappointing outcome which gives a green light to the UK authorities – and potentially Saudi Arabia’s other arms suppliers – to continue authorizing arms transfers to the Kingdom despite the clear risk they will be used to commit violations,” said James Lynch, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
I would like to ask you please to sign
EDM Early Day Motion 124 pushing for Parliamentary Scrutiny of Arms Export control. Thanks for your consideration of this important issue.
This EDM calls for the re-establishment of the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC), as a matter of urgency, to provide scrutiny over current UK arms sales and the UK's arms export control regime post-Brexit; ; and notes the considerable public concern about UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the use of such arms in the Yemeni civil war.
SPEAK has previously asked for the end of the DESO, the predecessor of the DSO. We would like to ask you to use your influence to ask for an immediate review and end of the DSO department especially with its role in supporting DSEi. Please raise these concerns within Minister of Defence currently Sir Michael Fallon and Liam Fox Secretary of State for International Trade who presides over Department for International Trade.
You can read more about our campaign as well as watch videos and hear from our passionate peace warriors here: http://www.speak.org.uk/campaigns/arms-trade
Watch Alan Storkey talk on the influence of the arms industry on SPEAK’S youtube page
- Speak Peace Festival Talks September 2015 Alan Storkey 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ew2tZiMIAk
- Speak Peace Festival Talks September 2015 Alan Storkey 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WAZW-QlXJU
We also encourage you to explore CAAT’s (Campaign Against Arms Trade) website for events you can attend. https://www.caat.org.uk/events
References For Pray and Post 2017-2018
Much of the brief history is indebted to Alan Storkey, ‘Colin Scott Memorial Lecture: Fighting the War against War’, given on the 11th March 2017 and found here: http://bit.ly/2vezScd
SIPRI, ’Military Expenditure — World military spending in 2016’ http://bit.ly/2hjgQMe, Accessed 01 August 2017
Huffington Post, ‘The Record U.S. Military Budget’, 10 February 2015 http://bit.ly/2tZpIwq, Accessed 01 August 2017
The Guardian, ‘Global arms trade reaches the highest point since cold war era’, 20 February 2017 http://bit.ly/2m2UFIu
Amnesty International, ‘Killer Facts: The scale of the global arms trade’, 22 August 2016 http://bit.ly/2w2vzxx
Oxfam, ‘Why we need a global Arms Trade Treaty’, http://bit.ly/1g37o9E, Accessed 01 August 2017
The Telegraph, ‘UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia are lawful, High Court rules’, 10 July 2017
Following legislative information from House of Commons, ‘The legal and regulatory framework for UK arms exports’, Briefing Paper Number 2729, 9 June 2017 http://bit.ly/2uSsxhB
Oxfam, ‘Yemen Crisis Appeal’, Accessed 01 August 2017 http://bit.ly/1CYti6W
Human Rights Watch, ‘Yemen: Saudi-Led Funeral Attack Apparent War Crime’, 13 October 2016 http://bit.ly/2de93rE
Campaign against the Arms Trade, ‘Country Data: Saudi Arabia’, Accessed 01 August 2017 http://bit.ly/2vpJDVD
The Guardian, ‘UK cluster bombs used in Yemen by Saudi Arabia, finds research’, 19 December 2016 http://bit.ly/2h1iWOx
The Guardian, ‘UK approved £283m of arms sales to Saudis after airstrike on Yemen funeral’, 23 July 2017 http://bit.ly/2unm0LR
UK Defence Statistics, ‘MOD Trade, industry and Contracts: 2015’, 27 August 2015, bit.ly/2bQrOkM
SIPRI, ‘Special Treatment: UK Government support for the Arms Industry and Trade’, November 2016 http://bit.ly/2kc2DN7
Campaign against the Arms Trade, ‘Taxpayer support for DSEI’, Accessed 02 August 2017 http://bit.ly/2uVLrnG
The Guardian, ‘DSEI weapons fair: authoritarian regimes descend on London’, 14 September 2015 http://bit.ly/2ho2Ocn
The Guardian, ‘Rowan Williams pledges support for arms trade activists’, 22 September 2013 http://bit.ly/2vt9zje