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Guns sold at arms fair ukrain credit  Yurii Zushchyk Alamy HEADER.jpg
Yurii Zushchyk/Alamy
Guns sold at arms fair ukrain credit  Yurii Zushchyk Alamy.jpg
Yurii Zushchyk/Alamy
World News

Catholic Bishops plead for UK to end arms trade fuelling refugee crisis

by Heather Preston

Catholic Bishops are calling on the UK government to put an end to the arms trade and its devasting consequences on refugees.

A statement signed by Catholic Bishops from across the UK, as well as representatives of Pax Christi, Justice and Peace movements, CAFOD and SCIAF, has condemned the sale of weaponry that "destroys human life and violates human dignity".

The charge comes as London prepares to host the world's largest gathering of the defence and security community next week.

Citing the words of Pope Francis to the US Congress in 2015, the letter reads: "'Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.'" 

The letter explains that although every country has the right to defend itself from attack, the arms trade is having a grave impact on the poor, as people are forced to flee their homes.

Speaking to Premier, Bishop William Nolan, Bishop of Galloway and President of the Justice and Peace Commission, explained that Britain is "very much at the heart of the arms trade" which is in turn fuelling war and conflict across the globe and contributing to the refugee crisis. 

"These wars seem to go on and on, and somebody is supplying them with arms and weapons to keep these conflicts going.
"Everytime there is a conflict, whether it is Syria or Afghanistan there is a whole host of new refugees.

"War and conflict throughout the world is a major cause of the refugee crisis we have at the moment.

"Everyone says how much our economy depends on the arms trade to raise jobs and so on but the Government should be trying to resolve dependance upon that and trying to create jobs of other sectors that are more beneficial to humanity."

Figures show that every year $1.9 trillion is spent on the military worldwide, Bishop Nolan explains that we have a moral obligation to the poor that should outweigh the financial benefits of the arms trade.

"We urge governments across the world, including our own, to commit themselves to ending the global arms trade and instead pursue the path of peace and reconciliation," he said. 

The DSEI arms fair will take place from 14th-17th September connecting 1,500 arms companies with governments and military delegations from across the world.

The letter calls on the Christian community to pray that "our leaders may commit themselves to ending [the arms trade], in pursuit of peace and care for our whole human family."

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