Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) called today on President Obama to cancel a $1.29 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that includes over 18,000 bombs and 1,500 warheads. "Given the evidence of how Saudi Arabia has employed such arms to date, there is overwhelming reason for concern that Saudi Arabia will use such arms to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen," warned Michael O'Reilly, AIUSA Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Advocacy. "We urge President Obama to cancel this deal."
Thousands of civilians have died in the ongoing conflict in Yemen, in which all sides have been implicated in violations of international humanitarian law and serious violations and abuses of human rights law. Amnesty International researchers have spent weeks on the ground in Yemen since March 2015, where they found both unexploded U.S. bombs and identifiable fragments of exploded U.S. bombs among the ruins of Yemeni homes and other civilian objects. The Saudi-led coalition's pattern of air strikes and the lack of investigations to date into such incidents raise serious concerns about an apparent disregard for civilian life and for fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. Many of the Saudi-led coalition strikes investigated were unlawful.
"This arms deal violates President Obama's own policy on arms sales," said O’Reilly, citing a 2014 directive which states that arms transfers must take into account the likelihood that recipients will commit human rights abuses and violations of international law. "President Obama is poised to sell thousands of bombs and warheads to a government that unlawfully targets civilians. This deal must be stopped."
Amnesty International USA sent a letter to President Obama today calling on him to cancel the Saudi arms deal. A copy of the letter is available here.