(AhlulBayt News Agency) - As the world's largest arms fair prepares to open its doors in London, campaign groups are highlighting the UK's role in selling £3.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the devastating conflict in Yemen began.
According to the latest report from campaign group Control Arms, the UK, France and the US have been three of the biggest suppliers of arms to the Saudi regime since the war in Yemen broke out in 2015, despite the fact that thousands of civilians, including children, have been injured in the conflict.
Meanwhile, Oxfam is calling on the UK to immediately "stop the arms sales and push for a ceasefire" and has accused ministers of "double standards" because of the Government's official endorsement of the Defense Systems and Equipment International [DSEI] arms fair, taking place at the Excel Centre this week.
Various campaign groups accused the Government of "rolling out the red carpet" to invited delegates from some of the world's most repressive governments, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Turkey, at DSEI.
In a new report, Control Arms concurs with other groups including Campaign Against the Arms Trade [CAAT] in finding the UK alone has agreed to £3.6 billion worth of arms sales since the Saudi backed coalition began its air strikes in Yemen, with an estimated 13,000 people having been killed in the conflict since March 2015 and creating a humanitarian disaster.
Amnesty International accused the UK of being in breach of the UN treaty to regulate the international arms trade, effectively ignoring its obligations by continuing to supply arms even where there is a real risk they will cause a serious violation of human rights.
Oxfam is among the organizations calling on the Government to stop the lucrative sale of arms and push for international ceasefire.
The UK Government's aid budget for Yemen is set at £139 million for 2017-18, with Amnesty International calling this a "shameful contradiction" in comparison to the billions generated by the sale of arms to oppressive regimes.