Women in Black London say No More Arms Fairs in the UK at their vigil in central London tonight.
– This week the ExCeL Centre in London’s Docklands will host DSEI – Defence and Security Equipment International – one of the largest arms fairs in the world. Governments and military delegations will be browsing the wares of 1,600+ arms companies selling everything from guns and bombs to fighter jets and warships, with live action demos around the Royal Victoria Dock area.
– They will be joined by companies selling surveillance equipment, drones and other tools of repression to police and state agencies. Since 2008 income from UK arms export licences alone has exceeded £52 billion.
– Afghanistan is one of the countries where the UK has provided arms, valued at £151 million since 2008. Today the country is awash with weaponry from 40 years of war These wars have had especially damaging effects for women, who face repression, sexual violence, diminished human rights, and displacement. The UK has also sold arms for the protracted war in Yemen, a country that faces one of the world’s most severe humanitarian crises, with famine, malnutrition, starvation and disease. We continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and other regimes with poor records of supporting human rights. The Arms Trade fuels conflict, contributes to the abuse of human rights and the degradation of the environment. The UK should have no part in this trade and its promotion through arms fairs or trade delegations