Ebene Magazine – British arms sales to Saudi Arabia extend the war in Yemen: Oxfam

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Ebene Magazine - British arms sales to Saudi Arabia extend the war in Yemen: Oxfam

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By

James Hitchings-Hales

By

James Hitchings-Hales

In Yemen, millions of people are displaced as a result of ongoing civil war and half of all health facilities are closed, while 80% of the 29 million people need assistance to survive, reports the UN.

Despite its distance Controversial decisions in Britain are literally fueling the conflict, according to the international nonprofit Oxfam.

Britain has sold billions of pounds of arms to Saudi Arabia since the conflict began in Yemen, despite fears that Saudi Arabia would sell the weapons against innocent civilians. During the conflict, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition was repeatedly accused of killing and wounding civilians in indiscriminate bombing.

According to Oxfam, the UK has provided bomb parts, missiles and tank equipment to allow aircraft to remain in combat zones longer while they’re looking for targets.

An estimated 8,759 civilians have been killed in air strikes since the conflict began, according to the Yemen Data Project. There were 125 air strikes in January alone. Of those bombings, 10% were aimed at civilian sites and 13% at military targets, while the rest remains a mystery.

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July 10, 2020

Britain resumes selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite fears they could be used against civilians in Yemen

The British government is increasingly isolated in its approach to the war in Yemen in the international community.

Since Joe Biden became US President, he has suspended all arms sales that were used in the Yemen war and declares that « the war in Yemen must end ». This is followed by an announcement from Italy in January that the sale of missiles to Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be finally ceased after an 18-month suspension.

« Since the US has called for an end to the conflict in Yemen, Britain is going in the opposite direction, increasing its support for the brutal Saudi-led war by increasing arms sales and refueling equipment that facilitates air strikes, « said Sam Nadel. Oxfam’s chief of policy and legal affairs told the Guardian.

« Britain claims to support peace in Yemen, » added Nadel. « It can begin with immediately ending the sale of any weapons that could be used against civilians and exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. »

Glad to sign this important letter. Saudi-led attacks on #Yemen are fueled by weapons from Britain. When the US & Italy withdraws its support, our government should finally develop a moral compass and do the same. # StopArmingSaudi @ CAATukhttps: //t.co/q67jnMQY4Y

In June 2019, the British High Court found that British arms exports to Saudi Arabia were illegal in a « historic » ruling that ruled that the United Kingdom had not judged whether its weapons were used in violation of international law. This resulted in a temporary suspension that was subject to government review.

However, it took a little more than a year for the review to show that despite « isolated cases » there was « no clear risk » that international law would also exist in Future is broken, according to a July 2020 statement by Liz Truss, the UK’s international trade minister. The decision at the time was labeled « morally bankrupt » by the Arms Trade Campaign, the group that had brought the legal action.

The arms sales were therefore immediately resumed in July 2020. There have been at least 1,192 air strikes in Yemen since the month this decision was made. For the vast majority of these strikes, it is unknown whether they were civil or military targets.

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June 21, 2019

Court rulings British arms exports to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are « illegal » in historic victory

According to the United Nations, around 233,000 people were killed in the civil war in Yemen. Of that number, 131,000 died of poverty, either directly caused by the conflict or exacerbated by the “ticking time bomb” of food insecurity.

A government spokesman said: “Britain operates one of the most comprehensive export control systems in the world. The government takes its export responsibility seriously and evaluates all export licenses strictly according to strict licensing criteria. « 

Ref: https://www.globalcitizen.org

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