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Time to shift priorities

climatecardWILPF is supporting the Stop the Arms Trade week of action against the London arms fair 15 – 18 September. The exhibition, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), takes place every two years in London and directly enables arms companies to profit from war, insecurity, repression, and environmental destruction.

Up to 1500 companies will attend the fair, selling devices and weapons often associated with human rights abuses and involved in supplying wars such as Syria, Iraq and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Repressive regimes use the weapons purchased in London against their own people.

WILPF seeks to draw attention to the links between militarism and environmental destruction. As well as the death of millions of innocent civilians, and the destruction of hundreds of thousands of homes and essential buildings – from military action – extreme weather conditions and events, exacerbated by conflicts, become additionally damaging to the millions of refugees fleeing violence and living in vulnerable places. See the sand storm currently affecting the Middle East, including Syria. It has even put a stop to military action in some areas.

Yet governments routinely emphasise military spending over climate change. The UK spends 25 times more on weapons research than research into renewable energy.* Nuclear weapons cost £3 billion a year; enough to quadruple investment in renewable energy.

Stop the Arms Fair is holding a daily session of protest at the ExCel Centre in London’s Royal Victoria Docks, and if you’d like to write to the organisations supplying the arms fair, a template letter is online here, a list of companies is here, and if you Tweet, you can use #armstradeenablers.

You can also join Women in Black vigils against the Arms Fair on Wednesday 9 and Wednesday 16 September 6 – 7 pm at the Edith Cavell Statue opposite the National Portrait Gallery, London.


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