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United Kingdom: Catholic Church speaks up against London Arms Fair. “Tools for killing people”

An international arms fair (the so-called DSEI, Defence & Security Equipment International) will open its doors in London on 10 September. The event is sponsored by the UK Ministry of Defence and is aimed at governments, national armed forces, and leading companies in the defence and security industry. 35,000 people from over 50 countries around the world are expected to attend. “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”, said UK Bishop Declan Lang in a statement issued on behalf of the Bishops’ Conference today. “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”. The government “has a moral duty to observe and strengthen its arms control regulations and international obligations”, the bishop wrote, “rather than arming the same regimes that it vocally criticises for human rights abuses”. In his message, the prelate also praised “all those from our Catholic community who are taking up the Holy Father’s message and peacefully campaigning against the indiscriminate sale of arms”.

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