Pressure grows on UK to suspend arms sales to UAE
Pressure is mounting on the UK government to stop arms sales to the UAE following yesterday’s historic High Court ruling which suspended new weapons export licences to Saudi Arabia in light of the war in Yemen.
In response to the High Court decision, Labour’s International Development Secretary, Barry Gardiner, urged the UK government to extend the ban to the UAE and Bahrain, both key forces in the Saudi-led coalition's war on Yemen. The Labour Party have previously stated their intention to suspend arms sales to all actors in the conflict, including the UAE.
The UAE are charged with committing war crimes in Yemen, where they hold a significant naval, ground and air presence, and the UN has documented a humanitarian catastrophe as a result of the conflict there. Furthermore, it was recently revealed that UAE forces have been running clandestine prisons where there have been numerous reports of extreme torture.
Since the onset of the offensive in 2015, coalition forces have been using UK-made weapons to kill and wound thousands of Yemeni civilians.
Thursday’s decision in London followed a challenge by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which accused the UK government of licensing arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite a clear risk their use could breach international humanitarian law.
The Court of Appeal ruled in favor of anti-weapons campaigners.
"This ruling is huge," said Sam Perlo-Freeman, a research coordinator at CAAT.
"We can see that arms sales for use in Yemen are now being challenged internationally - in the US and Europe - but this from a court in one of Saudi Arabia's top two arms suppliers takes that to a whole new level.