Chidren play near a house in Sanaa, Yemen 131218 CREDIT PA.jpg
World

Stop Selling Weapons To UAE, Amnesty Urges Western Nations

The group says British weapons are ending up in the hands of al-Qaeda and so-called Islamic State.

Chidren play near a house in Sanaa, Yemen 131218 CREDIT PA.jpg

Children play in Sanaa, Yemen (Picture: PA). 

Amnesty International has urged Western governments to stop selling weapons to the United Arab Emirates and other nations in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

The group’s arms control and human rights researcher, Patrick Wilcken, claimed that British and US manufactured weapons have ended up being used by al Qaeda and Islamic State.

He referenced reports published last year that said weapons and cash were being funnelled to al-Qaeda by Gulf commanders, via militants fighting alongside the coalition against the Houthis.

The Saudi-led coalition, of which the UAE is a part, has been fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammad bin Salman is greeted by Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in March 2018 Picture PA.jpg
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, is greeted by Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in March 2018 (Picture: PA).

Mr Wilcken said: "The proliferation of unaccountable, UAE-backed militias is worsening the humanitarian crisis and posing a growing threat to the civilian population."

The UAE have not commented on Amnesty’s allegations.

Germany, the Netherlands and Norway have curtailed arms sales to members of the coalition but Britain and the United States continue to supply weapons.

The war in Yemen has caused thousands of deaths, displaced three million people and in October the UN said that 13 million Yemenis were facing starvation.

Peace talks were held in Sweden last year but no major breakthrough has yet been achieved.