UK Aid and Arms in Yemen

Publication date

09 Sep 2019


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The conflict in Yemen between the internationally recognized government backed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Houthi forces has fuelled a huge humanitarian crisis which has left millions of Yemenis hungry, led to tens of thousands of deaths and forced almost four million people to flee their homes. 

The United Kingdom has donated hundreds of millions of pounds worth of aid to Yemen since 2015, including lifesaving food and healthcare. And yet the value of that aid is many times less than the value of arms that the UK has licensed for sale to members of the coalition, principally Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

This briefing argues that the UK government’s approach to Yemen has been illegal, immoral and incoherent. The government has said it will appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal in June 2019 that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful, and meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been invited to the world’s biggest arms fair in London this month. Oxfam is calling on the UK government to do everything it can to end the war in Yemen, by stopping arms sales to the parties involved and by pressing for an immediate countrywide ceasefire.