The British Government is breaking national, EU and international law and policy by supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia in the context of its military intervention and bombing campaign in Yemen, according to a legal analysis by eminent international law experts commissioned by Control Arms UK members Amnesty International and Saferworld.

Weapon remnants from the Saudi-led coalition strike using UK made missiles on the Radfan Ceramics Factory in Beni Matar, Sana’a on 23 September 2015, 5 November 2015 © Amnesty International

The conflict in Yemen has turned the country into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Civilian targets including hospitals, schools, markets, grain warehouses, ports and a displaced persons camp have been hit in airstrikes by Saudi-led coalition forces.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director said: “The UK has fueled this appalling conflict through reckless arms sales which break its own laws and the global Arms Trade Treaty it once championed”.

The lawyers, Professor Philippe Sands QC, Professor Andrew Clapham and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh of Matrix Chambers, conclude in their comprehensive legal opinion that, on the basis of the information available, the UK Government is acting in breach of its obligations arising under the UK’s Consolidated Criteria on arms exports, the EU Common Position on Arms Exports and Articles 6.3 and 7 of the Arms Trade Treaty.

The al-Asma School after it was attacked by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, Mansouriya, Hodeidah, 8 November 2015. © Amnesty International

Saferworld Executive Director Paul Murphy said: “UK Government policy on Yemen is in disarray. The UK gives aid to Yemen with one hand while supporting the destruction of the country with the other. It’s time the UK acted as a peace broker, rather than an arms broker. The UK government must halt these arms sales immediately.”

Control Arms calls on the UK and all other governments to immediately halt all authorisations of arms to any warring party in Yemen.

For more information please read the full legal opinion as well as the Amnesty and Saferworld’s press release.

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