News Release: FAO Newsdesks
Senior doctors worldwide call for The Lancet to sever its links with the arms trade
Reed Elsevier told to stop organising London weapons fair
Tomorrow (10 September) The Lancet, arguably the world's most prestigious medical journal, publishes a public letter calling on The Lancet's owner, information giant Reed Elsevier, to end its involvement in the international arms trade. The letter is signed by senior doctors and public health experts from Europe, South Asia, Japan and the US.
This public call, coordinated by the Campaign Against Arms Trade and British medical charity MedAct, comes three days before Reed Elsevier joins forces with the UK Ministry of Defence to stage one of the world's largest arms fairs, the giant Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi), in London's Docklands.
The letter's signatories argue that Reed's involvement in the international arms trade “contradicts Reed Elsevier's own subscription to the UN Global Compact, which aims to prevent conflicts and human rights abuse. As researchers, scientists, medical professionals and campaigners concerned about the damaging effects of the arms trade on the health and wellbeing of many populations, we call on Reed Elsevier to end its international promotion of the arms trade.”
The Lancet has established a repution for publishing groundbreaking and controversial work on war and public health, including a 2004 study of civilian deaths in Iraq which drew an formal rebuttal from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
Anna Jones, Campaigns Coordinator for the Campaign Against Arms Trade, said:
“Reed's arms fairs, including DSEi, promote weapons sales ranging from small arms - the cause of around 500,000 fatalities annually - to cluster bombs and warships. They invite arms buyers from some of the world's most serious human-rights abusers. Reed should not be involved with activities that go against the basic axiom of medical ethics to 'Do No Harm' – a principle central to the work of the readers and contributors of Reed's medical publications.”
Contact: Mike Lewis, Media Coordinator, Campaign Against Arms Trade 020 7281 0297, press(at)caat·org·uk
- Reed Elsevier owns The Lancet, New Scientist, and hundreds of other biomedical and scientific journals. It organises arms fairs in the UK, Latin America and East Asia through its exhibition wing Reed Exhibitions. In 2003 it acquired Spearhead, the organiser of DSEi, the world's largest tri-service (air, land, sea) arms fair.
- The letter's signatories comprise medical and scientific organisations MedAct (UK), Physicians for Social Responsibility (USA), Scientists for Global Responsibility (UK), International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and Europeans for Medical Progress (Europe); as well as ten public health experts from four continents, including: Professor Gene Feder, Professor of primary care research and development, London University; Professor Jon E Rohde, Professor of Public Health, BRAC University, Dhaka; Professor Urban Janlert, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences, Umea University, Sweden; Dr Masamine Jimba, Assistant Professor, Department of International Community Health, University of Tokyo; Dr Enrico Materia, Agenzi di Sanita Pubblica, Rome.
- For the full letter text and signatories, see here.
DSEi, one of the world's largest arms fairs,
runs from 13-16 September at the ExCel Centre.
Activists and campaigners from across Europe will be protesting at
DSEi throughout the week, aiming to stop the fair from returning in 2007.
See arms fairs for more details.