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UK court ruling deadly blow to Yemeni civilians: Amnesty

Amnesty International says a recent UK court ruling that the British government is entitled to continue authorizing arms supplies to Saudi Arabia is a deadly blow to Yemeni civilians.

Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty James Lynch on Monday described the court ruling as “disappointing.”

“The verdict is a deadly blow for Yemenis under attack from a Saudi Arabia-led coalition bolstered by UK-manufactured weapons,” Lynch said, adding, “This is a deeply disappointing outcome, which gives a green light to the UK authorities – and potentially Saudi Arabia’s other arms suppliers – to continue authorizing arms transfers to the kingdom despite the clear risk they will be used to commit violations.”

“Extensive and credible reports, including Amnesty International’s own research on the ground in Yemen, have in our view demonstrated that such weapons have been used to commit serious violations, including war crimes, against civilians in Yemen and that – in light of the clear risk – authorizing further transfers would be counter to the UK’s obligations under international law,” Lynch noted.

The developments come after the High Court in London reviewed a plea against the country’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, deciding that the government’s weapons sales were not against law.

The court had been studying the case lodged by the UK-based NGO ‘Campaign against the Arms Trade’ since February. It issued its ruling on Monday.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Lynch demanded an end to all arms exports to the Riyadh regime irrespective of this ruling.

“Irrespective of this ruling, the UK and other governments should end their shameless arms supplies to Saudi Arabia. They may amount to lucrative trade deals, but the UK risks aiding and abetting these terrible crimes,” the Amnesty official said.

Amnesty International and other NGOs and UN bodies have concluded that the Saudi pattern of attacks across Yemen raises serious concerns about an apparent disregard for civilian life.

A failure to take feasible precautions to spare civilians, as required by international humanitarian law, has led to civilian deaths and injuries and destruction of civilian homes and infrastructure.