Reaction to David Cameron's arms trip to UAE and Saudi Arabia
Responding to news of the Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to promote UK arms sales, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Policy and Government Affairs Allan Hogarth said:
“Selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE should only be considered if there are absolutely watertight guarantees over them not being used to commit human rights violations.
“Saudi Arabia has been the recipient of record-breaking arms deals involving the UK, yet these have been highly secretive and there’s been little or no follow-up over how the weaponry was used.
“For example, in 2009 the Saudi air force used UK-supplied Tornado fighter-bombers in attacks in Yemen which killed hundreds - possibly thousands - of civilians. In one attack conducted by Saudi forces on the town of al-Nadir in November 2009, so many were killed in just one extended family that witnesses say the family ‘had to create a cemetery for themselves’.
“More than two years ago we called for the UK government to urgently investigate Saudi Arabia’s involvement in this episode and meanwhile suspend any further arms supplies to Saudi Arabia.
“In the past a large Saudi chequebook has apparently meant it could purchase weapons as well as silence over its own dreadful human rights record. It’s time for David Cameron to end this deeply disturbing trade-off.”