UK suspends new arms export licenses to Saudi-led coalition
The British government announced on Tuesday that it will not be granting any new licenses for arms exports to Bahrain as well as all other members of the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen.
The announcement comes after Britain’s Court of Appeal ruled that the process by which arms export licenses had been issued was unlawful.
The court ruling last Thursday followed a legal challenge by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which accused the UK of breaching international humanitarian law.
Riyadh’s coalition, which has been bombing Yemen since March 2015, groups Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Egypt.
The military campaign has killed tens of thousands of people while many more have died as a result of starvation and disease.
The UK has licensed at least £4.7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the start of the conflict.
Meanwhile, export licenses to Bahrain exceeded £56.6 million over the last three years, according to CAAT’s data.
Tuesday’s announcement, however, does not mean that all arms exports to these Persian Gulf monarchies are going to be halted.
The UK government explained that “extant licenses – those granted before this judgment – are not immediately affected by the Court Order.”
“Exporters may continue to export under extant licenses,” the government added in a statement.