Human Rights Watch (HRW) says it has “compelling evidence” that British weapons are being used by Saudi Arabia in the war on Yemen, including against civilian targets.
The New York-based international organization said in a report that Saudi Arabia has hit factories in Yemen using UK-made munitions, and the remnants of the armaments were found at three different sites.
One of those munitions was a laser-guided Paveway bomb produced in May 2015, and supplied to Saudi Arabia shortly after the start of its war on Yemen.
Another was a UK-made Hakim air-launched cruise missile manufactured by a British company in the 1990s.
“This report has proven that weapons sold after the start of this war have been used in unlawful strikes and on civilian targets,” Priyanka Motaparthy, a senior emergencies researcher at the HRW, who wrote the report, said.
Andrew Smith, the spokesman for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said the report strongly proves that UK munitions are being dropped on civilians, and will form part of its legal challenge against the British government to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
“The report presents clear and compelling evidence of UK bombs being used against businesses and civilian targets,” Smith said.
He added, “Saudi Arabia has been widely accused of breaking humanitarian law, and yet the arms sales have continued. It is imperative that the government acts on these allegations and ends arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”
According to Amnesty International, the UK government sold 2,400 missiles and 58 warplanes to Saudi Arabia last year alone, enabling the regime to continue its war against Yemen.
The security and aerospace company BAE Systems has employed 5,300 people in Saudi Arabia, who provide support to the Saudi air force and the Saudi naval force.
There are also reports that British military experts are training Saudis to use air-launched Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which rights activists say Saudi Arabia has used in Yemen.
The British government has been under fire in recent months for ramping up arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which stands accused of committing war crimes during its military campaign in Yemen. London has shrugged off international calls for an arms embargo on Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia launched its fatal campaign against Yemen on March 26, 2015 in a bid to bring back to power Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who has resigned as Yemen’s president. More than 9,400 people have been killed in the Saudi airstrike ever since.