This Writer hopes those in the United Nations who are investigating domestic infringements of human rights – by the Conservatives – are paying attention to the arms inquiry.
A full-scale inquiry into the UK’s sales of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen is to be mounted by the powerful cross-party committee on arms exports controls.
The inquiry is going to look not just at arms sales to Saudi Arabia and their use by the Saudi air force in Yemen, but also UK arms sales to other Gulf countries.
The committee, which has taken months to be established since the general election, has a specific remit: to examine the government’s expenditure, administration and policy on strategic exports, specifically the licensing of arms exports and other controlled goods.
The UK government has licensed £6.7bn of arms to Saudi Arabia since David Cameron took office in 2010, including £2.8bn since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015. There have been strong claims, including by a UN panel, that the Saudi bombing campaign led to repeated breaches of human rights laws.
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