Human rights groups bolster court case challenging UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia

The UK has licensed at least £4.7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the bombing campaign in Yemen began in 2015.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Rights Watch UK have been given the right to intervene in a court case that is challenging UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia.  The case will be heard by the Court of Appeal in April 2019.

The case has been brought by the organisation Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), who in 2017 launched a judicial review over the continued granting of arms export licensing to the Gulf State, as there are clear concerns of Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen and the violations of international humanitarian law. The case was dismissed by the High Court but CAAT are appealing this decision.

Clive Baldwin, senior legal adviser at Human Rights Watch said the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi consulate in Turkey “only highlights the government’s lack of credible investigations and accountability demonstrated during the years-long Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.”

“The UK has contributed through its arms sales to a campaign that has killed or wounded thousands of civilians and brought the country to the brink of disaster”

The UK has licensed at least £4.7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the bombing campaign in Yemen began in 2015.

The UN warned last month that half the population, around 14 million people, in Yemen are at risk of famine.  And in August of this year, 26 children were killed and at least 19 were injured when the Saudi-led coalition bombed a school bus in northern Yeme.

Last month the European Parliament also called for a common EU position banning arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

“The UK should not wait for the court hearing to finally stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. It should stop selling weapons now until Saudi Arabia ends unlawful attacks and holds war criminals accountable,” Baldwin said.

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