DSEI brings arms dealers and authoritarian regimes to London, says CAAT

By agency reporter
September 3, 2015

The Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair will take place at the Excel Centre in East London between 15-18 September.

It will bring 1500 exhibitors together with military delegations from around the world, including a number from governments that commit serious human rights abuses, for an event that promotes the sale of arms; ranging from rifles to tanks to fighter jets to battleships.

DSEI is organised by Clarion Events and supported by UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), the government department responsible for promoting arms exports. Government statistics show that, at present, two thirds of all UK arms exports go the Middle East.

The list of countries in attendance will not be published until the first day of the event, but past events have included military delegations from a range of abusive regimes; including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Bahrain.

The arms companies in attendance will include BAE Systems, which has made fighter jets that are being used against Yemen, Israeli drone manufacturer Elbit Systems and Raytheon, which has been linked to the production of bombs used against the people of Gaza.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said: "This event underlines the hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy. The government may talk about human rights and democracy, but DSEI will see it promoting arms sales to some of the most abusive and authoritarian regimes in the world.

"DSEI is one of the biggest arms fairs in the world and exists to promote and maximise arms sales. A lot of the regimes in attendance have been linked to human rights abuses, and events like DSEI only make them more likely in future."

CAAT says the event will be met with large-scale protests, with a week of action planned for the preceding week to stop the armaments from reaching the venue.There will also be other actions happening during the week of DSEI.

* More about the week of action here: http://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk/events/

* CAAT https://www.caat.org.uk/

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