Campaigners call for UK to end arms exports to Saudi Arabia

By agency reporter
October 13, 2016

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has condemned the bombing of a funeral in Yemen, believed to be by the Saudi-led coalition, which took place on 8 October 2016, and has called for an end to all arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the revoking of all current licences. The strike is reported to have killed over 150 innocent people, injuring hundreds more.

The bombing comes at a time when the UK's largest arms company, BAE Systems, has reportedly entered talks to sell even more fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. Its efforts are being supported by the UK government.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "The humanitarian situation in Yemen is dire and getting even worse. Innocent people are dying every day. The UK government's response has been to continue supporting the Saudi forces that are dropping the bombs, and to sell them even more weapons."

Since the bombing campaign began in March 2015, the UK has licensed £3.3 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, including:

  • £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 continued:

"There can be no more excuses. There are major steps that the UK can take right now that could alleviate the suffering and reduce the chance of further atrocities. If Theresa May and Boris Johnson are serious about peace, then they must stop the arms sales and use their influence to call for an end to the bombardment."

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 it 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.

* Campaign Against Arms Trade


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.