GLAN assists Mwatana to file evidence in UK challenge to arms sales to Saudi Arabia

22 April 2021


The Yemeni organisation Mwatana for Human Rights has been granted permission to intervene in new judicial review proceedings brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade against ongoing UK government arms licenses for sales to Saudi Arabia. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has played a leading role in a devastating air campaign which has decimated Yemeni homes, infrastructure, schools and health facilities.


The UK is a major supplier of weapons to the Saudi Arabia – in fact, it is widely accepted that the Saudi-UAE-led coalition could not conduct its air campaign in Yemen without the UK's support. All arms sales are made under licenses issued by the Secretary of State for International Trade.


This is the second legal challenge to such arms sales, which was made necessary by the government’s decision of 7 July 2020 to reinstate licenses after the Court of Appeal struck down its previous licensing decisions in June 2019.


Mwatana is represented by Dearbhla Minogue and Siobhan Allen of Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and Bindmans LLP, Jamie Potter of Bindmans LLP, Admas Habteslasie of Landmark Chambers and Jonathan Crow QC of 4 Stone Buildings Chambers. The intervention is the latest stage in a long-running joint project by GLAN and Mwatana in which detailed, on-the-ground evidence of violations of international law involving British weapons has been submitted to the Secretary of State for International Trade.


GLAN is very pleased that this issue will come before the Court once again, given the UK government’s apparently unlawful disregard for clear evidence of breaches of international law by Saudi Arabia. If successful, the Secretary of State’s decision would likely be quashed and a new decision would have to be made on the correct legal basis.


For more information on GLAN’s work on accountability for international law violations in Yemen, visit www.glanlaw.org/Yemen