9 regimes Liz Truss should disinvite from London’s arms fair

It's like a who's who of global villians.

In September, London’s bi-annual DSEI Arms fair will take place at London’s Excel Centre.

The arms fair is organised by Liz Truss’s Department of International Trade – whose civil servants chaperone the delegations of militaries from around the world.

This year, as usual, many of the regimes invited to shop for arms have terrible human rights records.

In fact, the Department of International Trade has invited eight countries who are on the Foreign Office’s list of the 30 countries with the worst human rights records.

These are Bahrain, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

On top of this, some of the militaries invited are currently at war including eight members of the Saudi-led coalition which has been bombing Yemen for years.

Although there’s many more, here’s nine countries who the International Trade minister, Liz Truss, should disinvite immediately.

1.Hong Kong

The Hong Kong police have spent the last few weeks firing CS gas at pro-democracy protestors.

This led former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to announce it would stop issuing export licenses for ‘crowd control equipment’ to Hong Kong.

Despite this, the Hong Kong authorities remain on the official invite list for next month’s arms fair.

2. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest buyer of UK-made arms and is currently using Lancashire-made fighter jets and Scottish missiles to bomb Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition’s bombing campaign has been accused of war crimes and has destroyed much of Yemen’s infrastructure – leaving millions on the edge of starvation.

The Saudi regime’s new leader Mohammed bin Salman has also continued to repress democracy and breach human rights – murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

3. Bahrain

Bahrain is a close ally and neighbour of Saudi Arabia and has a similar system of government.

Just last month, the Al Khalifa regime executed two young men who had been tortured.

Amnesty International called these executions an “an utterly shameful show of contempt for human rights”.

In London, Bahraini embassy staff are alleged to have beaten up a pro-democracy protestor and threatened to kill him.

4. Egypt

Egypt has been ruled by a military dictator called Abdel Fatah el-Sisi since 2013.

Sisi has used the military to crush any dissent. According to Human Rights Watch, Sisi started his rule by killing about 1,000 protestors in a crime against humanity.

5. Israel

Israel uses its military strength to occupy an area to its east called the West Bank.

The United Nations (and the United Kingdom) recognises the West Bank as a part of Palestine and Israel’s occupation as illegal.

The other part of Palestine is called Gaza and, while Israel does not occupy this area, it does enforce a siege on the small territory.

Human rights groups like Amnesty International have called this siege “illegal” and David Cameron has likened Gaza to a “prison camp”.

According to the Guardian, about 30,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces while protesting against the siege.

6. Colombia

The Colombian military continues to be led by many of those accused of commiting serious human rights abuses between 2002 and 2008.

According to Human Rights Watch, in this period, army brigades across Colombia routinely executed civilians and planted guns on them – in order to meet pressure from their military bosses who wanted to boast of killing leftist paramilitary githers.

Human Rights Watch says authorities have largely failed to prosecute senior army officers involved in the killings and instead have promoted many of them through the military ranks.

Some of these officers may be among those Liz Truss’s department chaperones around London’s Excel Centre next month.

7. Phillipines

With the encouragement of populist new president Rodrigo Duterte, Philipine police have murdered thousands under the guise of the ‘war on drugs’.

8. Turkey

Over the last few years, Turkey’s President Erdogan has increasingly clamped down on human rights and Turkey continues to hold Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in solitary confinement in contravention of international law.

In March 2018, a left-wing British activist called Anna Campbell was killed by the Turkish military while defending the Syrian-Kurdish city of Afrin. She had originally gone to Syria to fight ISIS.

9. United Arab Emirates

Apart from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates is playing the biggest part in the destruction of Yemen. There have been reports of mass torture in UAE-run prisons in Yemen.

10. Uzbekistan

After the death of its long-time dictator Islam Karimov in 2016, Uzbekistan’s now leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev was elected with a suspiciously-high 88% of the vote.

11. Vietnam

Similarly to China, Vietnam is run by the Communist Party and its human rights record has been labelled “appalling” by Human Rights Watch.

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4 Responses to “9 regimes Liz Truss should disinvite from London’s arms fair”

  1. steve

    First step to an ethical politics is getting rid of the gravy train-riding, PLP Blairites.

    They backed the Iraq disaster and Libya disaster. And, given half a chance they’d have us doing the Jihadist’s dirty work in Syria.

    Not forgetting that ex-Blairite defence minister picked-up the vice-presidency of a military-related corporation on retirement from politics. Goodness knows what kick-backs others have banked.

    Of course, the last person you’ll see in uniform is a war-hungry, money-grabbing Blairite.

    Open Selections now.

  2. Neville Ball

    Why does the UK officially condemn Israel for its attacks on the people of Gaza but at the same time sell arms to this despicable regime? We have too much of this hypocrisy, there needs to be honesty applied, not double standards.

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