Rights group kicks agains UK selling arms to Saudi Arabia

The United Kingdom’s High Court of Justice has scheduled a hearing over a challenge to the government’s renewed arms sales to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, according to Human Rights Watch in a report on Tuesday.

The agency urged the UK government to immediately stop granting licenses for the export of arms to countries like Saudi Arabia because of its previous records of serious violations of international humanitarian law.

The HRW was reacting to an announcement by the UK that it would resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia in despite continued Saudi airstrikes in Yemen that have caused hundreds of civilian casualties.

“The ample evidence of laws of war violations by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen throughout the war make clear that these violations are not simply ‘isolated incidents’ as claimed by the UK government,” the report issued by Niku Jafarnia, a researcher with the Human Rights Watch said.

“UK weapons have been used in some of these violations with total impunity,” he added.

The current case is coming after several years of litigation, which began in 2016 when the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), a UK-based organization campaigning against the arms trade, first filed an application for Judicial Review into the legality of the UK government’s sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, the group said.

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“In 2022, despite a UN-brokered six-month truce, Human Rights Watch documented 28 airstrikes, which killed at least 110 civilians, including 14 children and 3 women.

“In January 2022 alone, Human Rights Watch documented three separate Saudi-led coalition airstrikes that apparently killed at least 80 civilians and wounded 156.

“The UK has supplied Saudi Arabia with an estimated $23 billion in weapons since the start of the war, which has caused at least 19,226 civilian casualties.

“These UK-supplied weapons include Paveway guided bombs, Typhoon and Tornado aircraft, and Brimstone and Storm Shadow missiles – all of which the UK government has admitted have been deployed in the conflict in Yemen,” it said.

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