Britain Urged to Stop Selling Arms to S. Arabia

Britain Urged to Stop Selling Arms to S. ArabiaBritain Urged to Stop Selling Arms to S. Arabia

Anti-arms trade activists are demanding the UK to stop peddling arms to Saudi Arabia, as the death toll in Yemen passes 2,000.

Speaking on Monday, the UK-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said in a statement the human rights situation in the kingdom is “dire.” The call comes as a Saudi blogger faces a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes for expressing his political views, RT reported.

“The fact that it is also the world’s largest buyer of UK weapons is a sign of the real hypocrisy at the heart of UK foreign policy,” the group said. “What right does the UK have to talk about human rights and democracy when its ministers are directly promoting arms sales to a regime that tortures bloggers?”

Over the course of its first four years in government, the previous Tory-Lib Dem coalition plowed ahead with the UK’s well-trodden policy of licensing $5.8 billion (£3.8 billion) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia.

“This included licenses for combat aircraft, components for bombs, weapon sights and tear gas. There is no suggestion that this will change under the current government,” CAAT said.

The charity, which carries out detailed analysis on the global arms trade, insisted that the British government promotes, and at the same time, condones these arms sales.

British ministers have reaped the benefits of intimate ties with Saudi rulers, while UK royals have been “co-opted into promoting arms sales,” CAAT said.

The Saudi regime has long been criticized by human rights advocates over its oppressive and cruel treatment of women, political dissidents and others.