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PEACE activists blasted the Tory government yesterday for selling arms to Saudi Arabia after an investigation revealed that Saudi forces had killed over a hundred civilians in a bombing raid.
The publication of a report by the Saudi-led Joint Incidents Assessment Team admitted that their forces were responsible for the bombing of a funeral in Yemen’s capital Sanaa that killed 140 people and injured over 500 more.
Despite revelations about human rights abuses, the Tory government has licensed over £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Gulf state including drones, missiles, tanks and aircraft.
And Britain’s largest arms company, BAE Systems, announced that it has begun talks to sell more warplanes to Saudi Arabia — a move supported by the government.
Campaign Against Arms Trade’s (CAAT) Andrew Smith said: “On paper UK arms export controls are very clear.
“The legislation says that if there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used to violate international humanitarian law then exports should not go ahead.
“How much more serious does the crisis have to get before the government finally stops arming one of the most abusive regimes in the world?”
The Saudi-led bombing campaign has been condemned by the United Nations, the European Parliament, Amnesty International and almost every single NGO that has people on the ground in Yemen.
British 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 existing licences and stop issuing further arms licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review into whether the exports are compatible with British and EU legislation.
A three-day review will take place in front of two judges no later than February 1 next year.
A Labour spokeswoman called on the government to “urgently review its support for the Saudi-led coalition, as well as placing an immediate suspension on the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia until there has been a full, independent, UN-led investigation into these attacks against civilians.”
A Momentum spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership forced a government U-turn on Saudi prison contracts last year and continues to draw attention to Saudi human rights abuses at home and in Yemen.”
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