UK must cancel arms sales to Saudi Arabia after court ruling on arms sales
Save the Children welcomes today’s decision of the UK Court of Appeal, which ruled that British arms sales to Saudi Arabia were not lawful. The court came to its decision because the British government failed to properly assess if the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so. This is in line with what Save the Children and other organisations have been campaigning on, for years: that continuously fuelling the conflict in Yemen by selling weapons to the Saudi-led coalition is both morally and legally wrong.
George Graham, Save the Children’s Director of Conflict and Humanitarian Advocacy, said:
“For years we have seen children’s lives devastated by weapons that could have been built and sold right here in the UK. Our teams have been among the first on the scene after air strikes have torn through schools and hospitals, causing appalling bloodshed in places that should be safe, even during war. Last month alone 30 children were killed and 64 injured in the fighting, more than half by air strikes.
“Today’s ruling recognises this brutal reality. Until the UK stops selling arms to Saudi Arabia we run the risk of exporting death and destruction to Yemeni children. The UK must now cancel all arms sales to Saudi Arabia to ensure that no children die from British made bombs in Yemen. This would make clear the U.K. wants no complicity in a crisis that sees international humanitarian law defiled on an almost daily basis.
“The UK can and must be a force for peace. It was instrumental in creating the first glimmer of hope when the Stockholm Agreement was signed last December. Now it must channel all efforts into finding a political solution to end the suffering.”
Notes to editor:
- According to a credible estimate, since 2015 the Saudi-led coalition and its allies are responsible for over 8,000 of approximately 11,700 fatalities reported in connection with direct targeting of civilians in Yemen.
- Data gathered by the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project shows that at least 500 children have been killed or injured in Yemen since the Stockholm Agreement was signed in December 2018. The CIMP is a mechanism for the collection, analysis and dissemination of open source data on the civilian impact from armed violence in Yemen, in order to inform and complement protection programming. It’s run as a service under the United Nations Protection Cluster.
- The UK is the ‘penholder’ on Yemen at the UN Security Council. That means that the UK has the power to draft and table Security Council products on Yemen – including press statements, resolutions, and presidential statements. It means they have the power to lead the way in efforts to forge a political, not military, solution to the conflict.