Environmentalists Against War
Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are

 

 

Oxfam: London 'In Denial' over Saudi Arms Sales as UK Bombs Kill Civilians in Yemen


August 24, 2016
Al Jazeera News & Hamid Dabashi / Al Jazeera

An international aid organisation has accused British politicians of being in "denial and disarray" over the selling of arms to Saudi Arabia for potential use in the war in Yemen. Oxfam said on Tuesday the UK was violating the International Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the transfer of conventional arms to ensure there are no violations of international humanitarian law.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/oxfam-uk-denial-saudi-arms-sales-160823192547697.html

Oxfam: UK 'In Denial' over Saudi Arms Sales
Group accuses UK government of being in "disarray" over selling of arms to Saudi Arabia for potential use in Yemen war.

Al Jazeera

(August 23, 2016) -- An international aid organisation has accused British politicians of being in "denial and disarray" over the selling of arms to Saudi Arabia for potential use in the war in Yemen.

Oxfam said on Tuesday the UK was violating the International Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the transfer of conventional arms to ensure there are no violations of international humanitarian law.

"UK arms and military support are fuelling a brutal war in Yemen, harming the very people the Arms Trade Treaty is designed to protect," Penny Lawrence, Oxfam UK deputy chief executive, told a conference in Geneva.

"It has misled its own parliament about its oversight of arms sales and its international credibility is in jeopardy as it commits to action on paper but does the opposite in reality."

Governments who sign the arms treaty are obliged to review their weapon sales and ensure that they are not being used for human rights violations.

Anna Macdonald, the director of the Control Arms Secretariat campaign group, said the war's effect on the civilian population in Yemen means "no arms sales should be going ahead to any warring party" in the conflict.

"We are very concerned that the UK government continues to authorise arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners at a time when this war is raging on and there is a very high risk that the weapons will be used against civilians," Macdonald told Al Jazeera.

According to the campaign group, the UK authorised an arms license to Saudi Arabia worth $4bn in 2015.

Earlier this year, the British government said it was confident that Saudi Arabia's actions in Yemen did not violate standards set by the treaty. However, it later withdrew that statement saying it could not verify such a claim, but that it had not been a deliberate attempt to mislead parliamentarians.

"Countless well-respected lawyers have now provided evidence that shows that the risk [of violating humanitarian law] is extremely high and that the UK has flouted its own national laws and international law," Macdonald said.

A non-governmental organisation, according to Macdonald, has now taken out a judicial review to attempt to force the UK to "reverse its decision" on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Yemen descended into chaos after the 2012 removal of long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces are now fighting alongside Shia Houthi rebels.

Security deteriorated further after the Houthis swept into Sanaa and pushed south, forcing the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile in March last year.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Arab states to fight the Houthis.

As of January 2016, 2,800 civilians had been killed by the fighting, with 8,100 casualties overall, according to the UN.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has estimated that coalition air strikes caused almost two-thirds of reported civilian deaths, while the Houthis have been accused of causing mass civilian casualties due to a siege of Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city.



Air Strikes on Yemen Capital Resume, Civilians Killed
Al Jazeera

SANAA (August 9, 2016) -- A Saudi-led military coalition has conducted air strikes on the Yemeni capital Sanaa for the first time in more than three months and locals said that 14 civilians were killed in a factory.

Medics working in the area told the Reuters news agency that the civilians were killed in a strike on a crisp factory in the Nahda district of the capital. The strikes also forced the suspension of flights into Sanaa International Airport for 72 hours from late on Monday.

Coalition spokesman General Ahmed Assiri confirmed to the AFP news agency that the air strikes against Houthi rebels had restarted and led to the closure of Sanaa airport, saying fighter jets had hit military targets "around" the city. The strikes came after UN-backed talks to end the conflict broke down over the weekend.

The Saudi-led coalition is backing Yemeni forces loyal to the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who are trying to oust Iran-allied Houthi forces from Sanaa.

Strikes hit a presidential compound and a military base in the capital as well as a Republican Guard base in the Arhab area near the airport, according to reports. Pro-government forces are trying to advance into the city from the north and east.

The coalition was also blamed by residents for nine civilian deaths in an air strike outside the capital on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Al-Qaeda Losing Ground
In a separate development, residents in Azzan in the southern Shabwa province said al-Qaeda fighters had dismantled their checkpoints and withdrawn from the city on Tuesday after air strikes, apparently by the Saudi-led coalition, targeted their positions there.

Al-Qaeda and similar groups took advantage of the fighting to seize control of much of southern Yemen, but have suffered military setbacks inflicted by coalition-backed local forces.

Yemen descended into chaos after the 2012 removal of longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose forces are now fighting alongside the Houthi fighters.

Security deteriorated further after the Houthis swept into Sanaa and pushed south, forcing Hadi's government to flee into exile in March last year.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia formed a coalition of Arab states to fight the Houthis. The coalition now includes Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal.

As of January 2016, 2,800 civilians had been killed by the fighting, with 8,100 casualties overall, according to the United Nations.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has estimated that coalition air strikes caused almost two-thirds of reported civilian deaths, while the Houthis have been accused of causing mass civilian casualties due to a siege of Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

back

 

 

Stay Connected
Sign up to receive our weekly updates. We promise not to sell, trade or give away your email address.
Email Address:
Full Name:
 

 

Search Environmentalists Against War website

 

Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are