CAAT calls on UK government to stop arming Saudi Arabia

By agency reporter
August 16, 2016

Since the collapse of peace talks on 6 August 2016,, the Saudi-led coalition has intensified its devastating bombing campaign in Yemen.

In the last seven days alone, Saudi-led forces have been accused of bombing a food factory, killing 14 people, a school, killing 10, including children, and most recently a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital, killing 11.

Campaign against Atrms Trade (CAAT) says that since the bombing campaign began last March, the UK has licensed £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Saudi government, these include:

  • £2.2 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)
  • £1.1 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)
  • £430,000 worth of ML6 licences (Armoured vehicles, tanks)

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "The destruction of Yemen has created a humanitarian catastrophe. These bombings are a terrible reminder that it is always civilians that pay the price in war. The UK government has been complicit in the devastation, having provided bombs, fighter jets and an uncritical political support for the regime.

"If Boris Johnson and Liam Fox want to do what's right for Yemeni people, then they must end the arms sales and call for a full and independent investigation into whether UK weapons have been used to violate international humanitarian law."

Over 6000 people have been killed in the Saudi-led bombing campaign; destroying vital infrastructure and leaving 80 per cent of the population in need of aid.

The intensification of the attacks follows the government's decision to u-turn on parliamentary answers, as well as a growing cross-party campaign for an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Andrew Smith continued: "If the bombing of schools, hospitals and vital infrastructure is not enough for the UK government to stop selling weapons then what will it take? Is there any low that it won't sink to in order to maintain arms sales and political support for one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world?"

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia are currently subject to a judicial review, following an application by CAAT. The claim calls on the government to suspend all extant licences and stop issuing further arms export licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while he holds a full review into if the exports are compatible with UK and EU legislation. A three day review will take place in front of two judges no later than 01 February 2017.



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