UN Experts Urge UK And US To Refrain From Providing Weapons To Saudi-Led Coalition In Yemen

United Nations experts have called on the UK and the US to stop selling arms to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen amid reports that their bombs are being used in potential war crimes against civilians.

A report for the United Nations Human Rights Council says that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition backed by the US have killed an estimated 6,660 civilians and wounded more than 10,000 others in Yemen since March 2015, although the “real figure is likely to be significantly higher”.

Majority of the civilian casualties were caused by Saudi-led coalition’ airstrikes, the report says, with some of those strikes that “may amount to war crimes”.

“Individuals in the Government and the coalition, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, may have conducted attacks in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution that may amount to war crimes.” the report says.

Read MoreUK And US Are Part Of All The Killing In Yemen By Selling Weapons To Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Activist

“Coalition air strikes have caused most of the documented civilian casualties. In the past three years, such air strikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities,” it added, warning that such incidents raised “serious concerns” about the coalition’s targeting process.

The experts also urged the international community to “refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict”— an apparent reference to countries like the US and UK that help arm Saudi Arabia.

The Associated Press reported, “Since March last year, the U.N.’s humanitarian aid agency has called Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – with three-fourths of its population of over 20 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The war has devastated the country’s health system and provided the breeding grounds for the world’s largest cholera outbreak last year.”

Following the report, the US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said their support for the Saudi-led coalition was not unconditional and suggested they would continue to support the coalition to reduce fallout on civilians.

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