Companies in the UK are selling weapons and providing military support to Saudi Arabia – one of the major parties in the war in Yemen. It is civilians who are paying the price for these business deals, as homes, schools, hospitals and farms are being destroyed in the airstrikes. Now, a new court case could help end weapons to Saudi Arabia. Here is everything you need to know about the trial and how you can pray.
What is the trial about?
The court case is being brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT). In 2019, they were able to get the government to briefly halt the sale of UK weapons to Saudi Arabia, before the UK Government decided to resume sales again in 2020.
The court case will look at whether the UK can legally sell weapons to the Saudi-led coalition that is bombing Yemen. In UK law, the sale of weapons is not allowed where there is a ‘clear risk’ that a weapon ‘might’ be used in a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.
CAAT will be arguing that the weapons are regularly being used in attacks on civilians – that these are not isolated incidents.
How are UK weapons being used in the war?
New research, looking at 14 months of the conflict between 2021 and 2022, showed that more than four attacks on civilians were carried out every day. Out of the 1,700 attacks on civilians who were killed, injured or forced to flee their homes, it was found that air raids by the Saudi-led coalition, using weapons solely supplied by the UK and US, accounted for a quarter of all attacks.
Since the conflict in Yemen began eight years ago, it is estimated that the UK has supplied more than £23 billion of weapons to Saudi Arabia.