Northern Friends Peace Board supports the Roots of Resistance [now Quaker Roots, as of September 2020 ] movement in opposing the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair held in East London from 10 to13 September 2019.
DSEI is a huge trade show bringing together 1,500 arms companies with representatives from militaries from around the world. Some of the world’s largest companies market a huge array of weapons and other military equipment. Arms fairs like DSEI play a key role in fanning the flames of violent conflict around the world, making profits for arms manufactures whilst devastating lives and societies.
As Quakers we recognise that there is something precious in every person. We are called to live ‘in that life and power which takes away the occasion of wars’ and ‘to stand firm in that testimony, even when others commit or prepare to commit acts of violence’ (Quaker Advices and Queries 31)
We endorse the principles by which Roots of Resistance is organised: listening to what love may be demanding of us, making people more important than objectives and acting non-violently with respect for that of God in every person.
The Court of Appeal recently ruled that the UK Government must not issue new export licences for arms sales when the weapons could be used for crimes against international humanitarian law. We are calling on the Government to fully comply with this ruling and change its industrial strategy to develop the production of socially useful products rather than arms production.
Refusal to fight with weapons is not surrender. We are not passive when threatened by the greedy, the cruel, the tyrant, the unjust. We will struggle to remove the causes of impasse and confrontation by every means of nonviolent resistance available. (Quaker Faith & Practice 24.10)