The Netherlands has banned arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Published March 17th, 2016 - 02:02 GMT
The Dutch parliament voted that Saudi actions in Yemen merit a weapons ban. (AFP/File)
The Dutch parliament voted that Saudi actions in Yemen merit a weapons ban. (AFP/File)

Lawmakers in the Netherlands have voted to ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia, citing violations of international law in the kingdom’s involvement in Yemen. The decision follows a February vote by EU politicians supporting a bill which demands an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.  

The Dutch resolution referenced a UN report which suggested at 119 Saudi coalition sorties in Yemen had been carried out in violation of international law. Saudi Arabia has denied that its airstrikes have killed large numbers of civilians, despite evidence suggesting otherwise.

Only this week, reports from Yemen suggested that Saudi airstrikes had killed dozens of people at a market in the north west of the country.

Between 2001 and 2010, the Netherlands reportedly sold around $43 million in arms to the kingdom, despite a 2008 ruling stating that the country would only have “restrictive” deals with Saudi.

Youssef Rahman of Amnesty International in the Netherlands said that he hoped other European countries would follow the Dutch decision

“Over the last year there has been mounting scrutiny of the way Saudi Arabia is fighting the deadly war in Yemen, and of the legal obligations of countries who sell and transit arms to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“We are hopeful that this vote in the Netherlands will be the first of many similar votes in other European countries.”

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