This week, the UK Court of Appeal will hear the case from Campaign Against the Arms Trade, with intervention from Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK about the UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Lucy Claridge, Director of Strategic Litigation for Amnesty said:
“By selling billions of pounds worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, ministers are signing a death warrant for the people of Yemen.”
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK will tomorrow join a fresh legal challenge to the UK’s continuing arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
The three organisations are intervening in a case brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) at the Court of Appeal in London seeking to challenge the legality of the UK Government’s decision to issue licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, despite the risk of the weapons being used for serious violations of international humanitarian law in the conflict.
The case was originally heard by the High Court in February 2017, with CAAT arguing that arms transfers to Saudi Arabia should be halted because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. However, the court dismissed CAAT’s case, ruling in July that year that the UK was entitled to continue authorising arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary of the UK, defended the ongoing trade in a Politico article:
“Some argue that Britain has contributed to the crisis because of arms sales to some of the participants. In fact, we have some of the strictest arms control export guidelines in the world and I have made the quest for a political solution in Yemen a central priority for British diplomacy.
“Despite Brexit, my focus on Yemen has not wavered.
“Our strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates allows us the opportunity to influence their leaders. Since becoming foreign secretary last July, I have paid two visits to both countries. Read more