Craftivism and the Arms Fair
Carlton Hill Friends Meeting House, 188 Woodhouse Lane Leeds
The DSEI arms fair fuels conflict and repression around the world. 1500 arms companies push sales of drones, tanks, missiles and all kinds of killing equipment. But it couldn’t happen without its civilian suppliers. These range from catering companies and lorry and delivery services, to hotels and exhibition stand and audio-visual services.
We have tried writing to some of these companies but have had no response, and so below is an open letter to them. Use it to contact these companies and ask them: Do they really want their brand associated with conflict and human rights abuses? Is the arms fair’s business worth losing other customers for?
Campaign Against Arms Trade has created a Storify page documenting the companies supplying the arms fair. Use #armtradeenablers to name and shame DSEI suppliers and we’ll add it to the page.
Dear Sir or Madam
Re: DSEI 2015
DSEI, the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition is an arms fair. It takes place every two years and is next scheduled to be held in London, in September. We are contacting you because we understand your company will be supplying this years event, or has done in the past. We would like you to reconsider your company’s involvement in DSEI 2015.
DSEI is extremely controversial. It has been repeatedly associated with the marketing of banned weapons and torture devices, attracting negative national press coverage, as well as leading to questions raised in parliament. Arms companies associated with these breaches have faced court action in the past.
The arms fair has also attracted extensive protests. This is in part because weapons sold at the fair are associated with human rights abuses (such as those by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, both of whose militaries routinely attend the fair). But also because companies exhibiting at the fair have been involved in supplying weapons used in devastating wars, such as those in Syria and Iraq, and with the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The responsibility for how these weapons are used lies with the companies who build, market, and sell them, and the states that buy and use them. But DSEI would be impossible without a whole host of other services – the catering firms, the hotels, the cleaning companies, the printers and sign makers, the security guards, and many others – who enable DSEI to happen.
This letter is an appeal to all of the companies who would enable DSEI to happen in September 2015, to withdraw from the event. It is a sad fact that your work would be facilitating an event that directly enables companies to profit from war, insecurity, repression, and environmental destruction – we hope that you will reconsider supplying and facilitating the fair this year. We recognise this may have implications for your business, but we also hope you recognise the urgency of this call – it is impossible to predict where the weapons sold at DSEI this year will be used, but it is a matter of fact that they will be, and at great cost.
We would like to engage you on this issue, and would like to hear from you.
Find out how to get in touch with some of these companies.