- The department for UK Defence and Security Exports has published the list of countries it has invited to Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), one of the world’s largest arms fairs. Eight countries are on the UK’s government’s own list of human rights priority countries – Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Other human rights abusing countries include Bahrain, Turkey, India, Iraq and Israel.
- DSEI is taking place at the ExCeL centre in London between 12th-15th September. Protests began on 4th September, with the first week targeting the setting up of the arms fair, and 12 people have been arrested. Over 2,800 military and security suppliers will be courting deals with representatives from human-rights abusing regimes with campaigners arguing that the deals done at DSEI lead to death and devastation across the world.
- On 12th September, arms dealers were met by protesters as they queued to access the fair. The protest highlighted migrant justice and the fact that so many people have to flee their homes because of the deadly impact of the arms trade.
The list of countries invited to this year’s DSEI shows this government’s utter disdain for human rights around the world. These invited delegates will be wined and dined and encouraged to buy yet more weapons to wage wars across their borders and to repress their civilian populations at home. It makes a mockery of the Foreign Office publishing a list of human rights priority countries when the same government pulls out all the stops to sell them as many arms as possible.
DSEI is a marketplace in death and destruction. It has nothing to do with peace and security, and only exists to maximise the profits of arms dealers.