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Bishop condemns DSEI arms fair

The Bishop of Clifton has criticised the British government for backing one of the world’s largest arms fairs.

Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Department for International Affairs for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, questioned how the government could speak of promoting human rights while welcoming some of the world’s most repressive and tyrannical regimes to the UK for the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair.

The fair, which takes place every two years, is due to open at the ExCel exhibition centre in London’s Docklands on Tuesday 10th September.

Hundreds of protesters from various faith-based organisations have already begun demonstrating against the event, which will run to Friday 13th September.

Recalling comments made by Pope Francis In June 2017, when the Holy Father explained that it is an absurd contradiction to speak of peace while promoting or allowing the arms trade, Bishop Lang told The Catholic Universe: “Likewise, it is a contradiction for our government to speak of promoting human rights while inviting authoritarian regimes to the UK for one of the world’s largest arms fairs.

“As a nation, we claim to support refugees and oppose persecution, while simultaneously selling weapons to those responsible for killing innocent civilians and driving families from their homes.

“The government has a moral duty to observe and strengthen its arms control regulations and international obligations, rather than arming the same regimes that it vocally criticises for human rights abuses,” the bishop continued.

“I offer my prayers and best wishes to all those from our Catholic community who are taking up the Holy Father’s message and peacefully campaigning against the indiscriminate sale of arms.”

Picture: Protesters demonstrate against the DSEI arms fair in 2017. (Peter Marshall/ImagesLive via ZUMA Wire).