Almost at the same time that the European Parliament was declaring a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia in protest for the indiscriminate bombing of Yemen’s civilians – after the UN raised the issue (1) – David Cameron, UK Prime Minister was congratulating his government’s promotion of sales to the Saudis by BAE Systems of military planes and other weapons.

According to The Guardian Saudi Arabia has paid circa £3billion for British weapons this year alone, although the issue of human rights has been raised by a number of agencies and politicians, such as the Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Hillary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary. In fact selling weapons to a country that is using them to attack the civilian population of another is illegal under international law.

Saudis’ assaults on Yemen have killed thousands of civilians and displaced about 2.5 million people, but they continue to count on the support of the US and the British governments. However Britain seems to have given up its intention to train Saudi Arabia’s prison personnel over human rights concerns.

The decision of the European Parliament to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia is not legally binding for Britain but it will be indeed an important point for discussion in the campaigns for the European referendum in four months time that will decide if Britain remains a part of the EU or leaves it.

  1. Yemen faces humanitarian catastrophe: Democracy Now!