The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in the UK works to end the international arms trade.

The arms business has a devastating impact on human rights, security, and damages economic development. Large scale military procurement and arms exports only reinforce a militaristic approach to international problems.

CAAT's priorities are to stop the procurement or export of arms where they might exacerbate conflict, support aggression, or increase tension support an oppressive regime or undermine democracy threaten social welfare through the level of military spending; to end all government political and financial support for arms exports; and to promote progressive demilitarisation within arms-producing countries.

Security must be understood in much broader terms that are not dominated by military and arms company interests. A wider security policy would reallocate resources according to actual threats and benefits, including addressing major causes of insecurity such as inequality and c

Success Achieved

One of CAAT's most successful campaigns has been a campaign that set out to stop the National Gallery in London from receiving sponsorship from the international weapons manufacturer Finmeccanica.

The protests began occurring March 2012 and a public awareness campaign supported by protests against this partnership made the Gallery reconsider their arrangement. After receiving hundreds of letters condemning its support for arms fairs, the Gallery refused to host Farnborough International's reception for arms dealers in July 2012.

Furthermore, the National Gallery's long-standing sponsorship arrangement with weapons manufacturer Finmeccanica was terminated a year early, following a campaign by Campaign Against Arms Trade to 'Disarm the Gallery.'

Challenges Faced

Perhaps the greatest challenge is finding information from weapons manufactures and arms dealers and getting it to the public. These organisations are very careful about what information is revealed and it can be very difficult finding the information and raising awareness about these issues in a timely fashion.

In the case of the "Disarm the Gallery" it was almost by chance that CAAT discovered that the National Gallery was being supported by Finmeccanica.

Lessons Learnt

In order to achieve change, it is important to get people on to the streets in order to draw on media attention and to raise public awareness.

This can be achieved by making protests fun, active and social events as well as by connecting with likeminded groups and promoting solidarity.

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