Condemn One Dictator; Invite Another?

The UK government is condemning violence in Syria just days before inviting other brutal regimes to shop for weapons at a massive arms fair in London, according to Campaign Against the Arms Trade.

Despite having threatened military action against Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, David Cameron’s government is still hosting his Russian weapons suppliers at the arms fair which opens in London next week.

CAAT death westminsterDefence & Security Equipment International is the world’s largest arms fair. Held every two years, it allows arms buyers and sellers, including some of the world’s worst human rights abusers, to network and make deals.

This year’s event takes place in the second week of September at ExCeL, the huge exhibition centre in London Docklands, and CAAT is calling on campaigners to join a week of action from 7-13 September, organised by Stop the Arms Fair.

In addition, parliament is due to debate the role of UK Trade and Investment next Thursday, 12 September. This is the government team which promotes weapons sales and helps to organise the fair, and CAAT is urging campaigners to press their MPs to speak out against its role in pushing arms sales.

“It’s this team which is helping organise the arms fair in London,” says CAAT. “It’s this team which helps organise David Cameron’s arms sales trips – like the one he made while on a “democracy tour” in Egypt. And it’s this team that lists some of the world’s worst human rights abusers as “priority markets” for UK weapons sales.”

CAAT is organnising a ‘photo stunt’ outside Parliament on 12 September to draw attention to the debate, while there will also be a mass action against the arms fair on Sunday 8 September.


CAAT’s briefing about UKTI is available here.

More information on the arms fair is here, and details of the week of action are here.