CAAT seeks arms fair re-match

IssueAugust - September 2017
News by Jo Lo

While the high court in London ruled on 10 July that arms exports to Saudi Arabia are ‘lawful’, Campaign Against Arms Trade remains confident in its legal case. We are challenging the verdict and hope that the court of appeal will overturn its ruling.

If the verdict is allowed to stand, government will regard it as a green light to keep arming human rights abusers and repressive regimes around the world. Even worse, Saudi forces will see it as a green light to continue in their brutal bombardment of Yemen.

CAAT has been encouraged by the support from ordinary people across the UK and beyond, as well as in parliament, in the media and across civil society.

While the legal case continues to be debated, the moral case has been overwhelmingly won. Just 11 percent of the UK public agree with the government that arms sales to Saudi Arabia are acceptable. So when we take action against the arms trade, we know that we have the people behind us.

While the court’s verdict is disappointing, and the government’s spinning of it is infuriating, we will try and bear in mind the saying ‘don’t get angry, get even’.

Stop the arms fair

In September, the Saudi military, the UK government and arms companies will all be conveniently gathered in one place – London’s ExCeL Centre – for the defence and security equipment international (DSEI) arms fair.

Tanks, guns, missiles, fighter jets and mass surveillance equipment will all be on sale to a range of buyers, all invited by UK civil servants. While government has so far resisted releasing the invitation list, we know that the last DSEI saw 61 nations’ militaries being invited.

Of these, 14 (including Saudi Arabia) were on the Democracy Index’s list of authoritarian regimes. Four (including Saudi Arabia) were identified by the UK government as having wide-ranging human rights concerns and six were then at war.

We will be aiming not just to protest against the arms fair but to stop it from happening. How exactly? This is what we will be planning at our Stop the Arms Fair workshops in London, Birmingham, Plymouth and Leeds.

Please join us outside the ExCeL Centre, where we will be all day every day from 4–11 September. If war starts here at the London arms fair – then let’s stop it here.

Topics: Arms trade