- Today marks four years since Saudi-led forces began bombing Yemen
- UK has licensed £5 billion worth of aircraft and bombs to Saudi Arabia since war in Yemen began in March 2015
- Legality of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia to be considered in Court of Appeal next month
Today marks four years since the start of the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen. In that time, over 60,000 people have been killed by war. Many more have died as a result of the humanitarian crisis, described by the UN as the worst in the world.
This morning the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, wrote an article for Politico in which he defended UK arms sales to the Saudi regime.
Since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, the UK has licensed £4.7 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, including:
- £2.7 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)
- £1.9 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)
In reality the figures could be a great deal higher, with most bombs and missiles being licensed via the opaque and secretive Open Licence system.
A recent report from Mwatana for Human Rights, a Yemeni based human rights group, has linked UK-made bombs to attacks on civilian infrastructure.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said:
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the worst in the world. Tens of thousands of people have been killed. No matter how bad the situation has become, Jeremy Hunt and his colleagues have put arms company profits ahead of the rights and lives of Yemeni people.
This terrible war would not be possible without the political and military support of arms dealing governments like the UK. As the war enters its fifth year it has only become more urgent that they do the right thing, and finally end the arms sales.
The legality of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen will be reviewed by the Court of Appeal in London from 09-11 April. This follows a case brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade.