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Britain must address unlawful harm to civilians in Yemen

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The war in Yemen has left many innocent civilians dead and is described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Despite the ongoing scale of this brutal war, the suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia have failed to address the unlawful harm to civilians in which they are complicit.

Last year, Britain apologised for selling licences for military equipment to Saudi Arabia in contravention of a court ruling banning arms sales to the Kingdom that could be used in the war on Yemen. It was reported that, “International Trade Secretary Liz Truss had admitted that the two licences had been granted for equipment that could be used in Yemen, but claimed the sales had been made ‘in error’, according to British media.” However, an apology is simply not good enough when lives continue to be lost in the war.

The British government is still selling arms to Saudi Arabia, despite the court ruling banning such sales; this is unacceptable. Accountability needs to be sought for the unlawful harm caused to civilians, starting with the Prime Minister’s role in signing-off licences. Boris Johnson has been accused of being complicit in signing-off arms deals for the use of British weapons in Yemen yet there has still been no proper investigation to highlight the unlawful harm to civilians as a consequence of Britain’s stance on arms in this war.

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© Middle East Monitor