UK resumes arms sales to Saudi Arabia

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Yemeni's search rubble after a bombing

The British government has announced it will resume issuing export licenses for arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a year the Court of Appeal ruled that they had acted unlawfully when licensing the sale of UK-made arms to Saudi forces for use in Yemen. The Court found they government had not assessed whether or not past incidents amounted to breaches of International Humanitarian Law. The Government was ordered not to approve any new licences and to retake the decisions on extant licences in a lawful manner. The announcement was made via a written statement by Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, and said that the government believes that any breaches of international humanitarian law were "isolated incidents", despite hundreds of documented cases of the targetting of residential areas, schools, hospitals, civilian gatherings, and agricultural land and facilities.

Since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015 by the Saudi-led coalition, the British government has licensed at least £5.3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. Campaign Against Arms Trade, who brought the original case against the government believes the figure could be far greater because many bombs and missiles are licensed via the Open Licence system, which allows companies to export an unlimited number of certain items within a certain time frame.

 

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