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Yemen bombing: Oxfam calls on Boris Johnson to immediately halt UK arms sales

10th Oct 2016

US to review support to Saudi-led coalition

The UK should immediately halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen as well as support an independent international inquiry into breaches of the rules of war, Oxfam said today.

The call comes after an airstrike on a funeral in Sanaa on Saturday left more than 140 people dead and 525 injured. The White House said yesterday that it will immediately review its support for the Saudi-led coalition.

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB said:

"The callous bombing of a funeral in Yemen over the weekend follows months of breaches of the rules of war by all sides of the conflict. Yemeni civilians are in the firing line. The UK government should comply with the law, implement its own export licensing rules, and immediately halt sending arms to Saudi Arabia until there is no risk that they will be used against civilians."

After initially denying responsibility, Saudi Arabia announced an investigation into the attack with support from US experts. 

Goldring said: "There should be an immediate independent international inquiry to determine the facts. UK calls for a Saudi investigation are a diversion and will only lead to a predetermined outcome designed to justify further support to this onslaught on the people of Yemen. Those accused of a crime should not be in charge of its investigation."

Over 3,980 civilians have been killed and 6,909 injured since the beginning of the war Yemen in March 2015. Airstrikes and shelling have destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and factories with little regard for the people inside.


Notes to Editors

More than three million people have been forced from their homes due to the conflict in Yemen and over 14 million people, half the population, are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.  21.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, more than any other country in the world. 

The UK government has been supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition for use in the war in Yemen, including export licences for £3.3bn worth of arms in 12 months from March 2015 when the war intensified. The UK is also providing Saudi Arabia with military advice and personnel, both Ministry of Defence personnel and private contractors.