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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
London: day of prayer and protest against arms trade
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¬†To mark International Day for Children as Victims of War this Friday, 4 June, the Campaign Against Arms Trade Christian Network and Pax Christi, the international Catholic movement for peace, are organising a pilgrimage of prayer and protest to Government departments involved in the global arms trade. Pat Gaffney, General Secretary of Pax Christi said: " Armed conflict, fuelled by the arms trade, continues to have a tragic impact on the world's most vulnerable - children. According to UNICEF 2 million children have died as a result of armed conflict in the past decade." The action on 4 June will take supporters from the Memorial to the Innocent Victims of War at Westminster Abbey to the Department of Trade and Industry, the Treasury, the Foreign Office and Downing Street. Prayers will be offered at each place and letters will be presented at each Department, calling for an end to government subsidies to arms export companies, the tightening of the government's arms export controls and the creation of a National Conversion Fund to re-orientate companies from military to civil production. At Downing Street 2,500 signatures will be presented to Mr Tony Blair at 12.45. This activity is part of the ongoing Call to Conversion Project, launched CAAT Christian Network and Pax Christi in June 2002 to engage Church leaders and communities in critical reflection and action to challenge government policy on the arms trade. Sunday 6 June is the Arms Trade Day of Prayer promoted by the two organisations. Churches across the UK will be including prayers for victims of the arms trade and for peace in their Sunday service. The UK is the second largest exporter of arms in the world. Recently the British and Indian Government agreed an arms deal for 66 Hawk jets for India at a cost of £900 million. The UK has also granted export licences for Hawk aircraft and Scorpion armoured vehicles to Indonesia for use in Aceh, a region that has been in conflict for over 25 years as well as to Nepal, Colombia and Israel.
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