Campaigners welcome call to suspend Saudi arms sales

By agency reporter
February 5, 2016

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has welcomed the International Development Committee's call for the UK to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and end its opposition to calls for an independent international inquiry into allegations of alleged abuses of international humanitarian law in Yemen.

The UK government has licensed £6.7 billion of arms to Saudi Arabia since David Cameron took office in 2010, including £2.8 billion since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The humanitarian situation is getting worse and the UK government has been complicit in it. We agree that arms sales need to stop, but they should never have been allowed in the first place. Saudi Arabia has a terrible human rights record and has been supported by governments of all political colours for far too long.” (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22492)

In January 2016, the law firm Leigh Day, representing CAAT, issued a pre-action protocol letter for judicial review challenging the government's decision to export arms to Saudi Arabia despite increasing evidence that Saudi forces are violating international humanitarian law in Yemen. At the time of writing the government was yet to respond.

Andrew Smith continued: “The government is always telling us how rigorous and robust its arms export system is. This is further evidence that nothing could be further from the truth. The UK has continuously armed some of the most abusive regimes in the world.”

A recent study by Opinium LLP for CAAT found that 62 per cent of UK adults oppose arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with only 16 per cent supporting them.

* CAAT https://www.caat.org.uk/

[Ekk/4]

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