A leading human rights group has called on the United States not to approve pending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, warning that such sales could implicate Washington in war crimes.
In a letter to US President Donald Trump, Amnesty International said the arms sales would only serve to further arm the Saudi-led coalition that has attacked thousands of civilians in Yemen in violation of international law.
Amnesty International’s researchers have already found many unexploded US-made bombs among the ruins of Yemeni residential buildings. The bombs include cluster munitions which are banned weapons under international law.
“There is substantial risk that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other coalition members could use new US arms to further devastate civilian lives in Yemen,” the organization wrote in the letter.
“This could implicate your administration in war crimes or violations of international humanitarian law. Amnesty International researchers have already found both unexploded US bombs and identifiable fragments of exploded US bombs among the ruins of Yemeni homes and other civilian objects.”
Riyadh’s coalition against Yemen, which includes Bahrain, began its military campaign against the impoverished countries in late March 2015.
The Saudi war on Yemen has killed thousands of civilians, and unleashed a humanitarian crisis in the improvised Middle Eastern country.
The war was launched in an attempt to bring back the former government to power and undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Apart from weapons, the US has also been providing logistic and surveillance support to the kingdom in the bloody military campaign.
“If approved, this [arms] deal would essentially have President Trump throwing gasoline on a house fire and locking the door on his way out,” Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director, said in a statement.
“The US should not continue to arm governments that violate international human rights and humanitarian law and simultaneously shut its doors to those fleeing the violence it helps to escalate,” Margaret added.
"Arming the Saudi Arabia and Bahrain governments risks complicity with war crimes, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the US from Yemen would be even more unconscionable. President Trump must not approve this arms deal," she continued.