Call for end to trade which harms ‘the poorest communities’


The bishops of England & Wales have voiced their opposition to the arms trade.


The DSEI arms fair takes place in London this week (14-17 September), bringing together governments and military delegations from across the world with more than 1,500 companies selling guns, bombs, and other weaponry.


But, say the bishops, conflicts fuelled by the arms trade harm the poorest communities.


A statement signed by bishops, Pax Christi, CAFOD, SCIAF and the National Justice & Peace Network says the trade forces people to flee their homes and has “devasting” consequences for the environment.


It says: “We recognise the right of every country to defend itself against attack, but we must never ignore, or allow ourselves to become complicit in, the destruction of human life and violations of human dignity made possible by the sale of weaponry.


“The conflicts fuelled by this trade harm the poorest communities, force people to flee their homes as refugees, and have devastating consequences for our environment.


“We stand alongside all those people of goodwill who are peacefully campaigning against the arms trade and join in prayer with the Holy Father that our leaders may commit themselves to ending it, in pursuit of peace and care for our whole human family.”


The statement also quotes Pope Francis: “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?


“Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.


“In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”


• In Liverpool, campaigners are seeking legal action to stop the AOC Arms Fair due to open at the City's ACC Exhibition Centre on October 11.


They are calling on the Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, and the city council to use their powers to cancel the event.


The mayor is ‘appalled’ the event is being held in the city, but says the the council has no legal ability to stop it.


She told the Council Cabinet: “The bottom line is that the council has no power to interfere with bookings taken by ACC Liverpool, and has no member representatives on its board.”


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