From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
SCOTTISH PRESBYERIANS BLAST BRITISH ARMS TRADE
05 May 1996 13:06:44
95125 SCOTTISH PRESBYERIANS BLAST BRITISH ARMS TRADE
by Robert Nowell
Religion News Service
LONDON--The Presbyterian Church of Scotland has sharply criticized
Britain's heavy involvement in the arms trade, especially to Third World
The report, by the denominations Church and Nation Committee, makes
special note of Britain's continuing arms deals with Indonesia, which has
been accused of oppressing the people of East Timor.
Britain is Western Europe's second largest arms exporter and fifth
worldwide. "It is a matter of deep regret that an arms industry is
necessary, and so it is perverse for the government to encourage and
protect it," the committee said.
"The idea that improving national security is simply a case of
acquiring the most up-to-date weaponry has to be challenged. The idea that
an economy which relies heavily on the production of life-denying equipment
can be a healthy one also has to be challenged.
"Rather than making it easy for the arms industry to find new markets,
the government should be making it easier for companies to diversify into
Eighty percent of all British arms exports go to Third World countries,
according to the report.
When the Church of Scotland's general assembly meets in
Edinburgh May 20-26, it will be asked to call on the British
government to stop military training of Indonesian personnel and make
future deliveries of Hawk aircraft dependent on "substantial improvements"
of human rights and the prospects for peace in East Timor.
The report also cited British arms dealing with Saudi Arabia, which,
the church said, has repressed religious minorities and
The British government "does not accept that there are
sufficient grounds for concern over human rights abuses" in Saudi Arabia,
the report charged.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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