Peace Matters Index

arms for peace

ONLINE contents

selection from paper publiation

- what we forget
- militarising education
- arms for peace
- war without end


complete issue pdf  H | M

In a speech promoting weapons exports last month, Liam Fox said: ‘For too long, export potential has been ignored. That needs to change … Defence and security exports play a key role in promoting our foreign policy objectives: building relationships and trust, sharing information and spreading values.’
Meanwhile a 1000 arms companies held a jamboree in London's Docklands at which a Pakistan arms manufacturer which advertised an ‘arms for peace’ exhibition next year with ‘gold-plated’ submachine guns was unceremoniously turfed out and its stands closed.

The action was taken after it was discovered that company were actively promoting banned cluster bombs. Details of the munitions were in brochures readily available to potential customers. Cluster bombs once high on the list of arms to ban have now been overtaken and drones have taken the number 1 slot of weapons to hate.

The action is unlikely to have much effect on Pakistan which while continuing to be a 'country of concern' is also a lucrative market of UK weapons. British arms exports quickly recovered after the Labour government flirted with a ban on arms sales to Pakistan after the military coup in 1999. Today arm sales to Pakistan are valued at over £49 million.

An early day motion so far signed by only ten MPs said that UK Trade and Investment, the government body responsible for promoting British defence exports, had countries including Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as ‘arms export priority markets’ for 2010-2011.
Caroline Lucas, the primary sponsor of the motion, said it was ‘clearer than ever’ that there was a ‘serious moral conflict’ between the government's promotion of exports and a desire to protect human rights.

"If we are truly committed to upholding human rights in the region, then we must urgently review our role in the international arms trade - and stop selling arms to repressive regimes.’

And who (repressive regimes apart) would disagree with that? But what exactly is a repressive regime? United States perhaps?
Remember and disarm.

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