Protesters at DSEI Arms Fair call for UAE arms embargo in light of war crimes in Yemen
On Saturday, ICFUAE took part in a protest against the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in East London. Alongside activists and other organisations, such as the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), ICFUAE called for an end to UK - UAE arms transfers.
The week-long protest saw artistic performances such as open-air theatres, dance acts and live music events in a bid to block the road leading to the ExCel Centre, a UAE-owned building complex, where the arms fair is being held.
Citing the UAE's human rights record at home as well as the countries controversial involvement in the conflict in Yemen, ICFUAE called for an immediate arms embargo to the UAE.
Since March 2015, the UAE has been accused of committing war crimes in Yemen, including multiple accounts of indiscriminate airstrikes on residential areas, markets, schools, hospitals and even weddings and funerals. Furthermore, the UN has revealed that UAE forces have been running clandestine prisons where there have been numerous claims of extreme torture.
Within their own borders, the Emirati authorities have invested heavily in the institution of a sophisticated police state, where all forms of communication are closely monitored by the authorities. In recent years, hundreds of people have been arrested in the UAE solely for exercising their right to free speech.
The surveillance technology necessary for this level of oppression has been provided by BAE Systems, a UK-registered company, which will be vying for new trade deals this week in the ExCel Centre.
It is absolutely imperative that the UK stops sending arms and surveillance equipment to a dictatorship, and any future trade deals must be contingent on the UAE’s adherence to international human rights law.