Weapons supplied by the UK and US and used by a Saudi-led coalition fighting in war-torn Yemen killed at least 87 civilians and wounded 136 others in just over a year, a report has said.
The report by the Oxfam charity found that the Saudi-led coalition used weapons supplied solely by the UK and the US in hundreds of attacks on civilians in Yemen between January 2021 to the end of February 2022.
Britain is the second-biggest supplier of weapons to Saudi Arabia, after America.
Yemen’s war began when the Iranian-backed Houthis seized the country’s capital in September 2014 and forced the internationally-recognised government into exile. A Saudi-led coalition armed with US weaponry and intelligence entered the war on the side of Yemen’s exiled government in March 2015.
Oxfam’s report comes ahead of a legal challenge by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) against the UK Government on supplying weapons used in Yemen’s war.
The charity said it can provide witnesses in support of CAAT’s challenge.
UK-armed airstrikes part of a 'pattern of violence against civilians' in Yemen, according to an Oxfam report published today.
READ: https://t.co/DOVHuWv5rA#YemenCantWait #Yemen pic.twitter.com/my0HzEXOrR
— Oxfam News Team (@oxfamgbpress) January 11, 2023
The UK’s Department for International Trade said they operate “one of the most robust and transparent export control regimes in the world”.
“We consider all our export applications thoroughly against a strict risk assessment framework and keep all licenses under careful and continual review as standard,” the spokesperson said.
The court battle is years old. The Court of Appeal in London ruled in 2019 that the UK Government acted unlawfully in selling weapons to Saudi Arabia that were used in the Yemen war.
The court, however, did not order a halt to the exports to the Gulf monarchy.
Oxfam’s report portrayed a grim picture.
Martin Butcher, Oxfam’s policy adviser on arms and conflict and author of the report, said it had analysed 1,727 attacks on civilians in Yemen’s war during the 14-month period, with the Saud-led coalition, using weapons supplied by the UK and the US, was responsible for a quarter of all attacks.
“It’s just so relentless,” Mr Butcher told The Associated Press in an interview. “People just find it so hard to escape the violence and the killing.”
The report said air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition during the 14-month period killed at least 87 civilians and wounded 136 others.
The charity counted at least 19 attacks by the coalition on health facilities and ambulances. It said 293 air strikes forced people to flee their homes.
Overall, the conflict has killed than 150,000 people have been killed, including over 14,500 civilians, according to The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
Mr Butcher urged the UK Government to “immediately stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen”, and promote a permanent ceasefire and negotiations for a long-term settlement through its position as a member of the UN Security Council.