Civil society groups in the UK and internationally have been doing excellent work to highlight the UK government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the midst of its bombing campaign in Yemen, which has led to a humanitarian catastrophe. One of WILPF’s contributions to this effort was to submit a shadow report on the United Kingdom to the Committee of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR), which reviewed the UK’s compliance with these rights from 6–24 June 2016.
WILPF’s report, written by WILPF Disarmament and Human Rights programmes, focuses on the violations of the rights to adequate housing, health, and education in Yemen that are facilitated by UK arms transfers to Saudi Arabia. As a result, the CESCR Committee recommended that the UK government “conduct thorough risk assessments prior to granting licences for arms exports and refuse or suspend such licences when there is a risk that arms could be used to violate human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.”
We will continue to raise awareness amongst governments, civil society groups, and the public about the connections between arms transfers and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in as many forums as possible, including those on human rights, arms control, and disarmament. We will also continue our research and advocacy on the international arms trade and on explosive weapons use, particularly in relation to the Middle East, where we work with women’s rights activists in the region to promote nonviolent feminist solutions to conflict. We’ll also continue our work with the International Network on Explosive Weapons to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.
- Explosive weapons and the right to health, education, and adequate housing, June 2016
- WILPF statement on the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, 19 September 2016
- WILPF statement on the use of weapons and arms transfers to parties in the conflict in Yemen, 15 September 2016
- WILPF statement to the Second Conference on States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, Treaty Implementation, 24 August 2016
- WILPF statement to the Second Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty, General Debate, 23 August 2016
- Explosive weapons and human rights, 2 June 2016
- Bloodshed in Syria: wherefrom the weapons? 25 January 2016
- Political action to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, January 2016