Arms fair will bring 'despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers' to London

By agency reporter
September 10, 2019

Today (10 September 2019) will see the opening of the Defence and Security Equipment International 2019 (DSEI), one of the biggest arms fairs in the world. A total of 68 international delegations have been invited to London for the event, including representatives from the Saudi Arabian regime, and all its coalition partners involved in the bombing of Yemen. The arms fair will run from 10-13 September.

The guest list includes representatives from eigh Governments that feature on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s watch list of ‘human rights priority countries.’ The countries that feature on the watch list are Bahrain, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

Last week saw seven days of protests and blockades to disrupt the setting up of the arms fair. Over 2000 people took action, with more than 100 people being arrested.

DSEI would not be possible without the support of the UK Government. It is supported by the Department for International Trade and the Ministry of Defence, with the Secretary of State for International Trade and the Defence Minister both due to speak at the event.

Organisers say that DSEI will bring over 1600 companies, and over 35,000 people together for the arms fair. Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The guest list for DSEI reads like a Who’s Who of despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers. They are in London for one reason only, and that is to buy as many weapons as possible. There is no way of knowing how these weapons will be used or who they will be used against.

"DSEI exposes the hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy. The Government may talk a lot about the importance of human rights and democracy, but it is arming and supporting some of the most abusive regimes in the world.”

* Campaign Against Arms Trade https://www.caat.org.uk/

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