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US, UK slammed for arms sales to Saudi

British human rights campaigners protest against arms sales to Saudi Arabia [Campaign Against Arms Trade/Flickr]
Human rights campaigners protest against arms sale to Saudi Arabia [Campaign Against Arms Trade/Flickr]

Amnesty International yesterday condemned the United States and Britain for selling arms to Saudi Arabia to use in its war in Yemen.

The rights group states that since the conflict began two years ago, in March 2015, the US and UK governments have together transferred more than $5 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia.

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That was more than 10 times the estimated $450 million spent by the US and UK in aid to Yemen over the past two years, it said.

Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty's deputy director for research in the Beirut regional office, said: "Two years of conflict have forced three million people to flee their homes, shattered the lives of thousands of civilians and left Yemen facing a humanitarian disaster with more than 18 million in desperate need of assistance."

Maalouf alleged that the weapons were being used to commit gross violations and helped to precipitate a humanitarian catastrophe. He described the arms transfers as a "shameful contradiction" of aid efforts by the United States and Britain.

These governments have continued to authorise such arms transfers at the same time as providing aid to alleviate the very crisis they have helped to create

added Maalouf.

The London based watchdog called on the international community to act immediately to impose an arms embargo and establish a credible international investigation into gross violations committed by all parties to the conflict.

According to Amnesty at least 4,600 civilians have been killed and more than 8,000 have been injured since the Saudi Arabia-led coalition began carrying out airstrikes in Yemen in March 2015 sparking a full-blown armed conflict.

Categories
Amnesty InternationalAsia & AmericasEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUKUSYemen
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