The UK has licensed the sale of £6.2bn worth of arms to the Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen, new statistics show.Fighter jets, bombs and missiles made in Britain are believed to have been used in the war.
Government figures show that export licences worth £6.2bn have been granted to members of the Saudi-led coalition in the four years since the conflict began in March 2015.
The figure includes £5.3bn to Saudi Arabia, £657m to United Arab Emirates, £85m to Egypt, £72m to Bahrain, £40m to Kuwait and £142m to Qatar before it withdrew from the coalition in 2017.
The Campaign Against the Arms Trade (Caat) group said the real total was “likely to be a great deal higher” because many bombs and missiles used by Saudi forces were approved through a separate licensing system that offers no public breakdown.
Andrew Smith, of Caat, said: “Thousands of people have been killed in the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen, but that has done nothing to deter the arms dealers.
“The bombing has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the complicity and support of Downing Street. These arms sales are immoral and illegal.”
Saudi-led bombing has killed more than 8,000 civilians, while driving a deadly cholera outbreak and famine that the United Nations has called the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
In February countries pledged $2.6 billion to help, but U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, said less than half that had been paid. The U.N. said that of 34 key aid programs only three were funded for the year and 22 "life-saving" programs will need to close in the next two months.
"We are desperate for the funds that were promised. When money doesn't come, people die," Grande said in a statement. "It's heart-breaking to look a family in the eye and say we have no money to help."