Oxfam said the UK was violating the International Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the transfer of conventional arms to ensure there are no violations of international humanitarian law. Governments who sign the arms treaty are obliged to review their weapon sales and ensure that they are not being used for human rights violations. The international aid organisation accused British politicians of being in "denial and disarray" over the selling of arms to Saudi Arabia for potential use in the war in Yemen.
"UK arms and military support are fuelling a brutal war in Yemen, harming the very people the Arms Trade Treaty is designed to protect," Penny Lawrence, Oxfam UK deputy chief executive, told a conference. "It has misled its own parliament about its oversight of arms sales and its international credibility is in jeopardy as it commits to action on paper but does the opposite in reality."
Anna Macdonald, the director of the Control Arms Secretariat campaign group, said the war's effect on the civilian population in Yemen means "no arms sales should be going ahead to any warring party" in the conflict. "We are very concerned that the UK government continues to authorise arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners at a time when this war is raging on and there is a very high risk that the weapons will be used against civilians," Macdonald told Al Jazeera. "Countless well-respected lawyers have now provided evidence that shows that the risk of violating humanitarian law is extremely high and that the UK has flouted its own national laws and international law."