Human rights campaigner have found new evidence proving that bombs dropped on Yemeni civilians came from arms factories in Britain.
A report by Human Rights Watch showed that Saudi Arabia had hit factories in Yemen using UK-made weaponry, including a Paveway guided bomb and a Hakim cruise missile, according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).
HRW had found missile debris in a bombed-out building in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, revealing that the rockets used were made by American arms manufacturer Raytheon, which has a factory and 600 employees in Scotland.
The group said the codes found on the smart bombs – which incorporate laser guidance systems and were found in the ruins of a building where 52 people worked – linked the destruction in Sanaa back to Fife.
Fragments of one of the bombs carried the code 15090-2271709-3 MFR U07GO, showing the weapon was built by both Raytheon and sub-contractor Border Precision, which was based in Kelso, Scotland, until it closed last year.
“15090 is a CAGE code for Raytheon,” said HRW senior researcher Mark Hiznay.
“The second line is U07G0, which is a Commercial and Governmental Entity code, essentially a manufacturers code. Putting the CAGE code through government procurement sites that CAGE code is for Border Precision Engineering Limited.”
His report also highlights that further markings “indicated that Raytheon in the UK manufactured the bomb in May 2015, after the start of the war.”
The 13 attacks on Yemeni civilian areas which were studied in the report saw 130 people killed, including numerous children. HRW has described the bombings – most of which are performed by Saudi Arabia and its allies – as “war crimes.” Since the beginning of Yemen’s civil war in March 2015, 934 children have been killed and over 1,300 injured. In total an estimated 6,000 people have lost their lives.
Britain is one of the international forces currently supporting the Saudi intervention in a war being waged between Shia Muslim and Houthi rebels and Sunni forces behind President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. A judicial review against the British government has recently been launched by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) on arms sales to Saudi forces used in the conflict.
CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith says the HRW report provided “compelling evidence that bombs made in Scotland are being used against civilian targets in Yemen.”
“If the new government in Whitehall cares about the human rights of Yemeni people then it must take some responsibility for what is being done with UK arms and stop arming and supporting the Saudi regime.”
“We take all allegations of breaches of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) very seriously,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
“We regularly raise the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the military Coalition. The [Ministry of Defence] monitors individual incidents of alleged IHL violations using all information available to us, which in turn informs our analysis of Saudi Arabia’s IHL compliance in Yemen.”
“The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to IHL is whether there is a clear risk that those weapons might be used in a serious violation of IHL. Having regard to all the information available to us, we assess that this test has not been met. We continue to monitor the situation closely in the light of all information available to us, and welcome any further information NGOs can provide.”
A total of £3.3 billion (US$4.3 billion) worth of arms licenses were sold to Saudi Arabia in the first year of the Yemen war. It is feared many of the parts and weapons provided by Britain were or will be used on bombing Yemenis.
RT requested comment from Raytheon.