Author Topic: Today the government has announced it will resume licensing arms sales to the Sa  (Read 1536 times)


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Dear friends,

Today the government has announced it will resume licensing arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen.

CAAT will be exploring all options available to challenge this decision.

These arms sales had been put on hold following our victory at the Court of Appeal last year. The Court found that the government had failed to properly assess the risk of weapons exported from the UK being used in violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. It ordered the government to retake all its previous decisions in a lawful way.

This morning, a written statement by the Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss said the government had completed that review, and concluded that war crimes committed in the attacks on Yemen were "isolated incidents". She said it would now begin “the process of clearing the backlog of licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners.”

We are appalled by this decision. In five years of war we have seen the Saudi-led forces bomb weddings and funerals, market places and warehouses, schools and hospitals – these are not isolated incidents but a pattern of repeated breaches of International Humanitarian Law.

We know that the UK has licensed billions of pounds of arms sales to the Coalition - at least £5.3 billion in published figures since the war began, but many billions more under the secretive open licensing system.

We know that UK weapons – warplanes, bombs and missiles – are being used by the Saudi-led forces in Yemen. The government itself admits this.

UK rules expressly prohibit the licensing of arms exports where there is a clear risk they might be used in violations of international humanitarian law.

Yet the UK government has continued to support the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, despite the terrible human impact of the bombing – and has fought our legal challenge every step of the way. Now it wants to carry on with business as usual.

We will be considering this new decision with our lawyers, and will be exploring every avenue to stop these sales and we will, of course, keep you updated with next steps.

In the meantime, you can read the initial media response in the Independent and Guardian.

With determination,
     Campaign Against Arms Trade

Campaign Against Arms Trade