Dealing in Double Standards

How Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia are Causing Human Suffering in Yemen

The continuing transfer of arms to Saudi Arabia in 2015, given the Yemen crisis, shows that a number of States Parties are not meeting their legal obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

In March 2015 a long-running political crisis in Yemen erupted into full-blown conflict. A coalition of countries, led by Saudi Arabia, began aerial bombing in Yemen with an aim of restoring the government which had been deposed when Houthi rebel forces seized control of the capital city. The conflict has raged for a year, and there is increasing evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) by all parties to the conflict.

At least 22 ATT States Parties and Signatories have continued to authorise licenses or carry out arms exports to Saudi Arabia in 2015. Major exporters include France, the UK, and the US. 

Several countries have clarified or changed their policies regarding arms exports to Saudi Arabia, including the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. 

In this Case Study, ATT Monitor outlines the context into which arms are being transferred, provides an illustrative summary of the arms transfers taking place between ATT States Parties and Signatories and Saudi Arabia, and questions whether these deals violate legal obligations under the ATT.

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