REUTERS/ Khaled Abdullah
The UK government has been selling arms to the Saudi-led coalition, who have been accused of numerous breaches of international humanitarian law over deaths of civilians in Yemen.
The UK has made over US$3.6 million in arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the military campaign began. On October 8, an airstrike widely believed to have been carried out by the Saudi-led coalition struck a funeral in Sana’a and killed 140 people.
It is the repeated atrocities that lead to some questioning whether UK MPs should in fact face warcrime charges. Britain is not only selling arms to Saudi Arabia, but also providing information to the control rooms which are in turn advising the Saudi-led coalition in bombing raids across Yemen, the Saudi foreign minister and the Ministry of Defense have confirmed.
Journalist Peter Oborne said in a recent article for the Middle East Eye, that supplying arms for the Saudi-led campaign could make the UK a co-conspirator in the conflict under international law.
Boris Johnson and Tobias Ellwood could yet face charges re complicity with mass murder in the Yemen. My col for MEE: https://t.co/Kh8iWdSt2w
— Peter Oborne (@OborneTweets) October 12, 2016
Tobias Ellwood MP, the Foreign Office minister for the Middle East, said that he is deeply concerned about reports of an airstrike at a funeral and that the scenes at the site were truly shocking.
“I am raising my concerns with the Saudi Ambassador to London… and urge the Saudi-led coalitions announced investigation into the incident to take place as a matter of urgency.”
“There can be no military solution to this conflict. We urge all sides to recommit to political talks and to implement a cessation of hostilities,” Ellwood said.
However, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended the sale of arms to the Saudi government.
“The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to international humanitarian law is whether those weapons might be used in a commission of a serious breach of international humanitarian law.
“Having regard to all the information available to us, we assess this test has not been met.”
Over the last 19 months as the war rages in Yemen, over 3 million people have been displaced and 14 million are suffering from starvation and malnutrition.
Our support to Yemen’s water authorities ensures that millions of Yemenis can access clean drinking water pic.twitter.com/OPe1bKUoxt
— ICRC Yemen (@ICRC_ye) October 14, 2016
Children are the worst hit, with hundreds of thousands at risk of starvation. More than 370,000 children are suffering severe malnutrition.