UK may face legal actions for arm trade with Saudi Arabia

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Legal actions may be taken within over ten days if British government doesn’t halt weaponry trade with the Islamic nation.

UK may face legal actions for arm trade with Saudi Arabia

The government of the United Kingdom might be facing a legal process if it keeps its denial of issuing weapons export licenses to Saudi Arabia.

The main reason of this possible lawsuit is the fact that the weaponry sold to Riyadh is mainly being used in the latest Saudi attacks in Yemeni territory where it’s been proved that serious violations to human rights are being committed and thousands of civilians have been killed by Saudi fire.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) NGO is leading the process against UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which is in charge of the evaluation of export licenses over accusations that it is not accomplishing its obligations to stop violations of international humanitarian law, as reported by the Guardian on Saturday.

In a 19-page legal warning, CAAT has warned the government that it has 14 days to halt the export licenses to Riyadh or face proceedings in the high court.

“EU Council Common Position on arms sales,” establishes that member states must refrain from the sales of arms if “a clear risk” is present that the weaponry may be used in violation of international humanitarian law.

It’s evident that weaponry coming from the UK has been responsible of the killing of thousands in Yemen, besides having destroyed important infrastructure and increased tensions in an already volatile region, according to declarations given by CAAT’s Andrew Smith.

There is convincing evidence that serious war crimes are being committed in Yemen with British complicity by its constant support to airstrikes and the continuous issuing of arms to Saudi Arabia.

CAAT also released information that shows how the UK has licensed the sales of over eight billion dollars of military hardware to Saudi Arabia since British Prime Minister David Cameron started his administration in May 2010.

Criticism over UK’s arm trade with Saudi Arabia also come over the Islamic nation’s constant violations to human rights in its own territory where, under the law of ruling Wahhabism, massive executions are carried out like the last one where the Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was killed along with 46 more people.

Until now, armed conflict in Yemen has left more than 7500 people dead and about 14000 more injured besides serious damages to important infrastructure and a humanitarian crisis that seems to worsen every time more with the “virtual” siege that several regions of the impoverished nation are living by now.

Written by Lisbeth Mechter

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