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Comment & analysis

UK Government must act now to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia

15 September 2016

Saferworld welcomes the joint report of two Parliamentary Committees calling on the UK Government to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia that are capable of contributing to the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen.

This report entitled The use of UK-manufactured arms in Yemen, released today by the International Development Committee and Business, Innovation and Skills Committee urges the halting of arms sales until violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) by Saudi Arabia can be investigated by an independent UN-led enquiry.

“Levels of humanitarian crisis within Yemen are at unprecedented levels. There have been over 10,000 conflict deaths, and the ongoing bombing by the Saudi-led coalition of supply routes and warehouses means Yemen is now facing a critical food shortage” said Roy Isbister, Head of Saferworld Arms Control Team. “The Committees have confirmed what we’ve long known: the UK Government’s policy of material support for the Saudi bombing campaign despite clear evidence of ongoing violations of international humanitarian law is untenable.  The UK must stop contributing to the suffering of the people of Yemen now.”

Over 85% of Yemenis are in need of humanitarian aid and 14.4 million are food insecure. Both sides of the conflict are accused of committing violations of international humanitarian law including indiscriminate attacks on civilians, infrastructure and the blocking of humanitarian supplies.

“A political solution to the conflict in Yemen is urgently needed. The UK Government‘s arms exports run counter to this objective, military action has only led to inflammation of the conflict, more deaths and increased destruction for the people of Yemen,” said Isbister.  “The finding of the committees, which is based on overwhelming evidence and an independent legal opinion, cannot be ignored. The Government must act, now.”

 

“The Committees have confirmed what we’ve long known: the UK Government’s policy of material support for the Saudi bombing campaign despite clear evidence of ongoing violations of international humanitarian law is untenable.”

Roy Isbister