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Jan
2017
Friday 13th
posted by Paddy McGuffin in Britain

PARLIAMENT must support an independent probe into the government’s complicity in war crimes in Yemen, campaigners told MPs yesterday.

Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, which pitches a Saudi-led coalition in support of the ousted Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi government against Houthi rebels backed by Iran.

MPs are calling for an urgent independent investigation into allegations made against both sides of breaches of international humanitarian law.

Labour international development select committee chairman Stephen Twigg said such an investigation is “long overdue” as he bemoaned the “glacial” progress made by Saudi Arabia on its own investigations.

Britain has licensed over £3.3 billion worth of arms to Saudi forces since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015.

Committees on arms exports controls chair Chris White said there is an “urgent need” for Britain to suspend sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia until a UN investigation into alleged breaches of humanitarian law is completed.

The Tory MP warned that if ministers fail to do so, Britain risks damaging its international reputation.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said: “The UK government has been complicit in the destruction of Yemen and the humanitarian catastrophe that has been forced upon the Yemeni people.

“Parliament must stand with those caught in the middle of the devastating conflict and support an international investigation into the human rights abuses that are taking place.

“For any investigation to be credible then it must be independent. The government has relied on investigations and evidence provided by the Saudi-led coalition itself.

“This is a regime that has a proven contempt for human rights. If it cannot be trusted to hold free and fair elections then how can it be trusted to investigate itself for war crimes?”

British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are currently subject to a judicial review which will be heard in the High Court between February 7 and 9 following an application by CAAT.

The claim calls on the government to suspend all extant licences and stop issuing further arms export licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review into whether the exports are compatible with British and EU law.

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