Open letter to CEO of BAE Systems
Dear Charles Woodburn,
We are writing to you on behalf of the International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE, a London-based NGO campaigning against human rights abuses in the UAE.
In 2017, a BBC investigation found that BAE Systems had been exporting cyber-surveillance and security software to the UAE, which the Emirati authorities have used to spy on their citizens. In 2016 alone, around 300 people were detained for comments made on social media that were critical of the regime. Scores more have been detained since then. Without BAE's assistance the UAE would not be able to exercise this kind of repression over its citizens.
Moreover, BAE have been instrumental in arming the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen. As I am sure you are aware, the conflict has developed into the world's worst humanitarian crisis. As a UN report recently documented, thousands of civilians have been targeted in indiscriminate airstrikes on schools, buses, funerals, weddings, marketplaces and hospitals. Millions more are on the brink of starvation. This same report implicated the UAE in gross human rights violations and possible war crimes.
Is it not immoral to accept as a consequence to BAE’s profit the misery of millions? Quite simply - how do you sleep at night knowing that you enable the repression of innocent people on an industrial scale?
We urge you to stop supplying the United Arab Emirates with surveillance technologies and weapons until it adheres to its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.
We look forward to hearing your response.
The International Campaign for Freedom in the UAE