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THE government’s decision to continue licencing arms sales to Saudi Arabia is “tantamount to signing the death warrants” of thousands of children in Yemen, charity War Child said today.
Despite a court ruling last year ordering the government to cease sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss claimed there was no pattern of deliberate breaches of international humanitarian law involving British-made weaponry in Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition was responsible for killing and injuring at least 3,481 children from 2015 to 2019, according to the UN.
Last year, the coalition was also responsible for killing and maiming 222 children in Yemen, four UN-verified attacks on schools and 186 cases of denying children access to humanitarian aid.
War Child head Rob Williams said: “By allowing these arms sales the UK will be complicit in the suffering and murder of children in what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
“It is tantamount to signing the death warrants of thousands of children in Yemen.
“In the wake of this week’s announcement where the government has committed that it ‘won’t look the other way on human rights’ it sends a clear message that being a ‘force for good’ means prioritising arms sales over children’s lives and arming a country that is bombing children in the ongoing war.”
Mr Williams called the decision “shameful and deadly” and said it must be reversed.
Labour’s Lord Stevenson of Balmacara urged the government to reverse its decision and warned that Britain risks acting as an “apologist” for Saudi Arabia’s human-rights abuses.
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