Four red hands held up in front of Parliament

Stop Arming Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the UK's biggest arms customer. One of the world's most authoritarian regimes, its repression at home and aggression abroad is supported by UK arms sales.

Last updated 12 April 2022

Saudi Arabia is the UK’s biggest arms customer and one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes. UK-made warplanes bombs and missiles are playing a central role in the Saudi-led coalition’s attacks on Yemen. We’re calling on the UK government to stop the arms sales now.

Saudi-led attacks on Yemen

The Saudi-led attacks on Yemen have killed thousands and created a humanitarian disaster.

The UK government has continued to supply weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen despite overwhelming evidence of repeated breaches of international humanitarian law. The UK government admits that Saudi Arabia has used UK weapons, made by companies around the UK, in its attacks on Yemen.

This is in clear violation of UK’s own guidelines on arms sales, and European and international law, and makes a mockery of the government’s claims to rigorously control arms exports.

The UK should never have been arming repressive Saudi Arabia in the first place. Military support for the Saudi regime makes us complicit in its crimes. The government refuses to act, so we have to.

Stop the arms sales

Once again, the UK government is issuing new arms export licences for the war in Yemen.

Email your MP

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A destroyed house in Sanaa with crowd of rescuers in front

Photo by Ibrahem Qasim, CC BY-SA

The war on Yemen’s civilians

The war in Yemen has killed an estimated 377,000 people through direct and indirect causes. Over 150,000, including tens of thousands of civilians, have been killed in fighting, including the Saudi-led bombing campaign, while many more have died of hunger and disease in the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.

Arms Dealers Dine as Yemen Starves #StopArming Saudi CAAT banner held by four activists outside a hotel under a mirrored canopy. The mirror reflects policeman in fluorescent jackets.

A humanitarian crisis, created by war

The war in Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. This is an entirely man-made catastrophe. It is a direct result of the devastating war in the country, and the strategies and tactics adopted by the parties to the conflict, especially the Saudi-led Coalition.

Storm Shadow missile parts found in Yemen

Photo by Hussain Albukhaiti on Twitter

UK arms used in Yemen

The UK government admits that Saudi Arabia has used UK weapons, made by companies around the UK, in its attacks on Yemen.

Legal action

CAAT is challenging the UK government‘s decision to continue to license the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.

On 20 June 2019 the Court of Appeal ruled that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are unlawful. As a result of this decision the government stopped issuing new arms export licences to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt, for use in Yemen.

Hundreds of millions of pounds of arms sales were put on hold. However in July 2020 the government announced it had determined that any violations of international law were only “isolated incidents” and it would resume granting new licences for arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition for use in Yemen.

CAAT is considering this new decision with its lawyers, and will be exploring all options available to challenge it.

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Activists outside High Court with Stop Arming Saudi Arabia banner

CAAT’s legal challenge

The UK government refuses to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite overwhelming evidence of violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen. CAAT is challenging this in the Courts.

A two-story concrete building, collapsed and surrounded by rubble

International Criminal Court

A coalition of European and Yemeni groups, including CAAT, has submitted a dossier to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, asking them to investigate European government and arms company officials for potentially aiding and abetting war crimes in Yemen.

Questions for BAE

BAE’s weapons have been playing a central role in the Saudi-led Coalition’s airstrikes in Yemen. Ahmed Al-Kolaibi, a human rights activist from Yemen, tells BAE Systems: "The arms trade must stop."

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Taking action

Saudi Arabia Typhoon combat aircraft, viewed from the front

Clément Alloing, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Yemen war: email your MP

The UK government must stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia and work together with the new US Administration to bring an end to the devastating attacks on Yemen. Please email your MP.

'no weapons beyond this point' banner hangs below Port of Tilbury sign

Resisting the Saudi arms ship

Saudi Arabian cargo ship the Bahri Yanbu collected cargo in the USA and Canada, and visited a series of European ports in February, before continuing to Saudi Arabia. It met resistance across Europe from campaigners concerned that the ship is carrying weapons destined for use by Saudi-led forces in the war on Yemen

Further reading

CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

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