Report finds UK arms ‘highly likely to be cause of significant civilian casualties in Yemen’
'The UK is on “the wrong side of the law” by sanctioning arms exports to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen and should suspend some of the export licences, an all-party Lords committee has said.
The report by the international relations select committee says ministers are not making independent checks to see if arms supplied by the UK are being used in breach of the law, but is instead relying on inadequate investigations by the Saudis, its allies in the war.
It describes the humanitarian plight of Yemenis as “unconscionable”.
It is the first unanimous report from a parliamentary committee describing Saudi arms export sales as unlawful, and comes ahead of an imminent high court appeal by campaigners to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia on the grounds they are in breach of humanitarian law.
The report places no legal obligation on ministers, but is likely to add indirectly to the pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to seek a way out of the war in Yemen through negotiation, rather than further military offensives to dislodge Houthi rebels in the capital Sana’a and the port city of Hodeidah.
Although a patchy ceasefire holds around Hodeidah, Saudi airstrikes are reported by the Yemen Data Project to be at their most intensive since the four-year civil war began in Saada governorate along the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
The US Congress voted earlier this week to suspend US arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, but the White House has signalled the president will veto the resolution if necessary.'
Read more: UK's Saudi weapons sales unlawful, Lords committee finds