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Sunak's apology to LGBT veterans is meainingless while he arms homophobic regimes

People holding placards reading 'No Pride in War'

Sunak's apology to LGBT veterans is meainingless while he arms homophobic regimes

British pacifists have said that the UK goverment and its armed forces remain complicit in homophobic persecution.

They made the comments in response to remarks by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in which he apologised on behalf of the UK government to LGBT pepole who were thrown out of the armed forces before the law was changed in the year 2000.

But the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), Britain's leading pacifist network, said that the apology means little when UK armed forces are providing military training to homophobic regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Uganda. Saudi troops receive training from British troops, both in the UK and Saudi Arabia, while also receiving British-made weapons with the approval of the UK government.

The PPU also pointed to Sunak's failure to respond to the string of revelations that have emerged in recent years about ongoing abuse and discrimination within the UK armed forces.

The Wigston Report in 2019 found homophobic bullying to be rife in the army, navy and RAF. Last year it was revealed that one in ten of the young women aged 16 or 17 who joined the army in 2021 had reported being raped of sexually assaulted within a year.

LGBT+ members of the PPU were among the founders of the No Pride in War campaign. Launched in 2016, it brings together LGBT+ people and peace groups to challenge attempts by the armed forces and arms companies to pinkwash their image and misrepresent themselves as supporters of human rights.

PPU Camapigns Manager Symon Hill, who is bisexual, said:

"Rishi Sunak's apology is largely meaningless. The UK government, and its armed forces, are still complicit in the persecution of LGBT+ people. They provide military training to some of the world's most viciously homophobic regimes, including Saudi Arabia and Uganda. LGBT+ people in Saudi Arabia are locked up, tortured and killed by forces who have been provided with weapons and military support by Sunak and his colleagues. LGBT+ people fleeing persecution are among the refugees who Sunak's ministers are busy demonising and turning away.

"Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has said not a single word about the string of revelations of sexual abuse and discrimination in the armed forces that have emerged over the last two years. Members of the armed forces continue to be denied the most basic employment rights, including the right to join a union and to leave their jobs when they wish. Armed forces are by their nature coercive and abusive institutions that cannot be reformed to become ethical or inclusive."


The Peace Pledge Union is a group of people who have pledged to resist war and to tackle its causes. We are the British section of War Resisters' International. Join us!