The following are extracts from an article publish by Steve Hucklesby on the ethics and foreign policy implications of the UK Arms Industry.
FULL ARTICLE – Good for Us: The UK Arms Industry
The Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEI) Arms Fair 2017: Involving 35,000 people, the DSEI arms fair will bring together arms companies and weapons buyers from all over the world, including from some of the world’s most oppressive regimes. This will support the UK’s desire to be established as the world’s second largest arms exporter, an accolade for which we are competing alongside Russia, China and France.
The intrinsic nature of arms: As Christians we object to the export of arms to oppressive regimes but do we, or should we, have more a fundamental opposition to the UK’s profit from arms? Our churches teach that the use of armed force, even when justifiable in certain limited circumstances, has its roots in human sinfulness and is a visible sign of the brokenness of human relationship in our fallen world.
Building peace: True peace is not simply the absence of war. Responsible governments will seek to build the conditions and relationships that will enable arms control and disarmament to take place.
Supporting the UK defence industry: The UK defence industry is highly enmeshed with the offices of Government. The Government provides the industry disproportionate support and subsidy. UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has 8 staff to support trade and investment in the UK’s education sector and 13 to support healthcare services. 122 officers support the defence export industry.
Arms to Saudi Arabia (there have been over 10,000 deaths of civilians in Yemen): The UK government asserted at a judicial review that it monitors Saudi airstrikes on civilian areas in Yemen and that it is not clear in their view that further arms sales would present a risk to human rights. Given the UK Government’s refusal to support an independent international investigation and its green light to further sales of aircraft components, bombs and missiles, the UK will be complicit in further deaths resulting from the aerial bombing of civilian areas in Yemen.
Promoting human rights and countering oppression and corruption: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights and Democracy Report 2016, identifies 30 countries of concern. The UK Government gave delegations from 8 of these 30 countries VIP status at the 2015 DSEI Arms Fair. Our drive to sell arms is harming our standing on human rights and good governance.
Christian protest at DSEI: On Tuesday 5th September, faith groups of all kinds will come together at the ExCeL Centre for a day of worshipful and peaceful nonviolent resistance and prayer.