British government sued on Saudi weapons sales

This 9 April 2018 video from Britain says about itself:

As welcoming ceremonies were underway for the Saudi crown prince, anti-war activists rallied near Parliament and said they would protest later outside the gates of Downing Street against Riyadh and London’s roles in the war on Yemen.

London has also been bedecked all over with portraits of the crown prince bearing complimentary messages. The royal’s pictures have even been plastered on taxicabs, prompting social media users to say the British capital is now looking like Riyadh.

In a counter-measure by anti-Saudi [government] activists, buses have spent two days touring London with banners accusing bin Salman of war crimes.

May defended Britain’s links to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall its former Riyadh-allied government. The military aggression has so far killed [far] over 13,600 Yemenis.

The war is being led by bin Salman, also Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, with the help of the US and the UK.

In a fiery exchange with opposition lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May defended the country’s military links to Saudi Arabia … . She underlined her government’s support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen

May’s government has remained defiant in the face of growing pressure to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, defending the sales amid evidence of war crimes and civilian deaths in Yemen. The UK has increased its weapons sales by around 500 percent since the onset of the Saudi invasion, according to a report by The Independent.

The UK has, so far, sold more than six billion pounds of arms to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia and Britain have decided to finalize a multi-billion-dollar deal for the sale of 48 Typhoon aircraft to Riyadh, despite massive protests against London’s arms supply to the Arab kingdom during its deadly war against Yemen.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Friday, military equipment maker BAE Systems said it signed the preliminary order from Saudi Arabia for 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, without providing any financial details.

Amnesty International UK’s Director Kate Allen slammed the agreement, saying, “Selling more fighter planes to a country leading a military coalition that is already laying waste to homes, hospitals and schools in Yemen, is just adding fuel to a humanitarian fire.”

By Marcus Barnett in Britain, Thursday, October 25, 2018:

Human rights groups launch fresh challenge to Britain’s arms sales to Saudis

HUMAN rights groups have launched a fresh legal challenge to the British government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK will be backing a Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) case to “test the legality” of the government issuing licenses for arms deals with King Salman’s regime.

Last year, the High Court dismissed CAAT’s claims that arms sales should be halted because of the likelihood that British weapons received by Saudi Arabia would be used to commit war crimes and other gross violations of international law.

However, CAAT has successfully appealed the ruling, and will go to the Court of Appeal in April 2019.

The groups will provide expert submissions in the case, and will seek to confront officials and ministers with what they will claim is the reality of their decisions to allow arms to go to Saudi Arabia.

Since Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in Yemen in March 2015, [far, far] more than 7,500 Yemeni civilians have been killed, with millions more on the brink of starvation.

The United Nations has concluded that the majority of casualties in the conflict have been due to bombing raids undertaken by the Saudi-led military coalition.

Since then, Germany, Greece and Norway have all cancelled or suspended various arms contracts to the country.

Amnesty International’s British legal programme director Rachel Logan said: “We strongly believe the UK’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia is in clear breach of both the UK’s own law and international law.

“The risk of UK arms sold to Saudi Arabia being used in unlawful attacks in Yemen could hardly be much starker.

“Extensive and credible reports [have] demonstrated that such weapons have been used to commit serious violations, including war crimes, against civilians in Yemen and that in light of the clear risk, authorising further exports would be counter to the UK’s obligations under international law.

“It shouldn’t need a legal challenge to get ministers to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia, but it seems to be the only way to get the government to finally do the right thing.”

18 thoughts on “British government sued on Saudi weapons sales

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