CAAT says "Kick out the cuckoo from the UKTI nest"

27 March 2009

As members of the Board of United Kingdom Trade & Investment (UKTI) arrive for their Board Meeting on 30 March they will be met by supporters of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) demanding that UKTI end its disproportionate and unjustified support for the arms industry.

UKTI's Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) was established as part of UKTI one year ago to provide support for arms companies in their export-related activities. From the beginning, it has been a cuckoo in the UKTI nest, hoovering up resources that could be allocated to other areas.

UKTI's Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) was established as part of UKTI one year ago to provide support for arms companies in their export-related activities. From the beginning, it has been a cuckoo in the UKTI nest, hoovering up resources that could be allocated to other areas.

UKTI's Board determine the direction of the organisation, and how its resources are allocated. CAAT campaigners will attempt to present board members with an alternative report, explaining why DSO activities are unethical and do not benefit UK taxpayers. On a lighter note, a giant cuckoo will pace the pavement outside UKTI headquarters.

Sarah Waldron, Campaigner for Campaign Against Arms Trade says:

"DSO is devouring resources which UKTI could use to promote peaceful and productive industries and employment. We want Board Members to see that it should be kicked out without delay."

ENDS

For further comment please contact CAAT's Media Coordinator Kaye Stearman on 020 7281 0297 / mobile 07990 673 232 or email media(at)caat·org·uk. CAAT spokespeople will be available for interview and there will be photo opportunities. CAAT photographs will be available later.

Notes

1.The UKTI Board meeting is scheduled for 30 March 2009 at Kingsgate House, 66-74 Victoria Street, London SW1 6SW. CAAT's demonstration, from 8.30am to 5.30pm, will be strictly non-violent and non-confrontational to staff.

2.Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.

3.UKTI's Defence and Security Organisation (DSO) provides support for arms companies in their export-related activities. This includes promoting weapons sales worldwide, including to countries in conflict and regimes with a documented record of human rights abuse.

4.Until March 2008 DSO's role was carried our by the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), housed at the Ministry of Defence. The disbandment of DESO, after a sustained campaign by CAAT, and its transferral to UKTI was supposedly to bring all export functions under one ministry, enable greater transparency around arms sales, and give better value for taxpayers. Events.

5. In November 2008 CAAT launched its UKTI: Armed and Dangerous campaign with a demonstration outside UKTI's headquarters in London. The demonstration aimed to inform UKTI staff about the new DSO unit and asked them whether they were aware that UKTI was involved in arms dealing. CAAT has since launched a petition and postcard campaign, to enable members of the public to directly inform Andrew Cahn, UKTI Chief Executive, of their concerns.

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