Edinburgh International Science Festival and arms company sponsorship

By staff writers
December 16, 2014

Edinburgh CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade) is taking action to challenge the Scottish capital city's International Science Festival's arms company sponsorship.

The popular and well-respected festival should not be used to whitewash a weapons company responsible for death and destruction around the world, say campaigners

The world watched in horror last summer as 2000 people were killed in Israel's attacks on Gaza, which included over 800 drone strikes. The drones used in these attacks, and those which Human Rights Watch say were used to deliberately target civilians in Israel’s 2008-2009 onslaught, were equipped with electronic components supplied by arms company Selex ES.

Selex, a subsidiary of multinational arms dealer Finmeccanica, which has been mired in corruption charges, plays a major role in the rise of remote-controlled warfare. Its surveillance drones, which identify targets for attacks, have been sold to notorious human rights abusers Saudi Arabia and into conflict areas such as Pakistan. Its parts feature in weapons systems and fighter jets implicated in war zones across the world.

That is why, says petition organiser Susan Lindsay, it seems more than a little sinister that they're behind a children's engagement event at the Edinburgh Science Festival that invites young people to play with remote controlled robots. Selex say they sponsor the fair in order to "inspire the potential future workforce". But is this the future children would choose?

The festival argues that because the arms trade is legal, it is acceptable. But petitioners think their ethics policy needs to exclude this pernicious trade, which fuels conflict, supports repressive regimes and aggravates poverty and debt in numerous less-developed countries.

* The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/edinburgh-science-festival-s-arms-company-spons...

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