Bishop says London arms fair contradicts human rights

The Bishop of Clifton has spoken out against the UK government for hosting an arms fair, calling it a "contradiction" to human rights.

It comes as the UK is due to host The Defence and Security Equipment International Fair (DSEI), one of the world’s largest arms fairs which connects governments and armed forces with the arms industry, at the London Excel next week.

Bishop Declan Lang, who is the Chair of the Department for International Affairs says the decision to host the event undermines the UK's humanitarian efforts.

 

"It is a contradiction for our government to speak of promoting human rights while inviting authoritarian regimes to the UK for one of the world's largest arms fairs.

"As a nation, we claim to support refugees and oppose persecution, while simultaneously selling weapons to those responsible for killing innocent civilians and driving families from their homes."

Bishop Declan says the government should not be facilitating regimes that abuse the human rights the UK fights for.

"The government has a moral duty to observe and strengthen its arms control regulations and international obligations, rather than arming the same regimes that it vocally criticises for human rights abuses.

Three Christian activists were arrested on Tuesday for protesting against the London arms fair as part of the 'No faith in War' campaign.

Christian Climate Action member Angela Ditchfield, was one of those arrested and said: “As the climate and ecological emergency worsens, more and more people will be queuing up to profit from social collapse and warfare. 

"As Christians we are compelled to resist this injustice and show solidarity with the victims of war."

Bishop Declan showed his support for the protesters saying: "I offer my prayers and best wishes to all those from our Catholic community who are taking up the Holy Father's message and peacefully campaigning against the indiscriminate sale of arms.

The DSEI arms fair will host 1600 exhibitors. The guest list includes military delegations from 67 countries.

 

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