DSEI arms fair brings human rights abusers and arms dealers to London

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The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair will take place at the Excel Centre in East London between 12-15 September 2017. It will bring over 1500 exhibitors together with military delegations from around the world, including a number from governments with awful human rights records.

DSEI exists for one reason: to promote the sale of arms; ranging from rifles to tanks to fighter jets to battleships. It is organised by Clarion Events and supported by the Department of International Trade and the Ministry of Defence.

The list of countries in attendance will not be published until closer to the event, but past events have included military delegations from a range of abusive regimes; including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Bahrain.

The arms companies in attendance will include BAE Systems and Raytheon, which make the fighter jets and bombs that are being used by Saudi forces in Yemen.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "DSEI is one of the biggest arms fairs in the world. It exists purely to maximise arms sales. Theresa May and her colleagues may talk about promoting human rights and democracy, but DSEI could not happen without the full support of government.

"DSEI will be met with large-scale protests, with thousands expected to take part. A week of action has been called for the preceding week to stop the armaments from reaching the venue. Full details of the planned protests can be found here. There will also be other actions happening during the week of DSEI.

"There will also be other actions happening during the week of DSEI, including Art the Arms Fair, a major art exhibition in London with art submitted by hundreds of artists.

"A lot of the regimes in attendance have been linked to terrible human rights abuses, and events like DSEI only make them more likely in future. We don't know how the arms being promoted at DSEI might be used in the future. Right now, Saudi Arabian forces are using UK fighter jets and bombs in their brutal bombardment of Yemen."

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