Tamil Diplomat

Yemen crisis: Oxfam critical of UK-Saudi arms deals

The aid agency Oxfam has accused UK ministers of “denial and disarray” over an agreement to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which could be used in Yemen.

The Saudi-backed Yemeni government is fighting against Shia rebels.

The UK government has faced repeated calls to ban weapons sales to Saudi Arabia amid concerns over international humanitarian law breaches in that war.

A government spokeswoman said it was satisfied the Saudi deals complied with the UK’s “export licensing criteria”.

Oxfam says the UK has switched from being an “enthusiastic backer” of the Arms Trade Treaty to “one of the most significant violators”.

The treaty sets international standards for the trade in conventional arms and seeks to prevent illegal arms trading.

Governments who sign up to it – such as the UK – are expected to review arms export contracts to ensure the weapons do not violate existing arms embargoes, will not be used for war crimes, human rights abuses or organised crime and will not be diverted for illegal use.(BBC,2016)