Oxfam accuses the UK Government of misleading Parliament over arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Written by John Ashmore on 23 August 2016 in News

Oxfam says British-made arms sold to the Saudis are being used against civilians in Yemen

Houses of Parliament - credit: PA

Oxfam has accused the Government of misleading Parliament over arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with the charity claiming the UK is now “one of the most significant violators” of the Arms Trade Treaty, which is designed to stop illegal arms dealing.

The development NGO said British-made arms sold to the Saudis are being used against civilians in the bloody civil war in Yemen.

The Saudi-backed government forces there are battling both Shia insurgents and the terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.


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The Government has repeatedly said that it abides by its international obligations and keeps arms sales under review.

The group’s deputy chief executive Penny Marshall will address a conference in Geneva today made up of countries who have signed up to the treaty.

"The UK government is in denial and disarray over its arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign in Yemen," she will say.

“It has misled its own parliament about its oversight of arms sales and its international credibility is in jeopardy as it commits to action on paper but does the opposite in reality."

A government spokesman insisted the UK was abiding by its legal commitments.

"The government is satisfied that extant licences for Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK's export licensing criteria," he said.

"The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to international humanitarian law (IHL) is whether there is a clear risk that those weapons might be used in a serious violation of IHL [international humanitarian law]."


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