People really want to see the government back in court over arms sales to Saudi Arabia. And they are putting their money where their mouths are to see it happen. A CrowdJustice campaign, launched on 8 November to do just this, has seen donations of over £12k in just a few hours.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) launched the fundraiser after losing a case in the High Court challenging the legality of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But that case was lost after the government produced secret evidence that CAAT’s legal team were prohibited from seeing.
Now the group is appealing. And they are raising money to do so. As the CrowdJustice page states:
CAAT’s grounds for appeal, and the government’s response, have now been submitted to the Court of Appeal and judges are considering these documents. We are determined to keep pushing until we get a result that favours the lives of people in Yemen over arms companies’ profits. But we are up against institutions with vast power and financial resources compared to our own.
And with two-thirds of the target raised in just hours, CAAT will have the funds to do so. Speaking to The Canary, Joanna Sidhu from CrowdJustice stated:
It’s not every day that people are given the chance to take action against the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. But today, in launching their CrowdJustice crowdfunding campaign, CAAT has done just that – they have given people a voice and the means to send a powerful message to the British government.
Given that the target has nearly been met in just one day, Sam Barns, a spokesperson for CAAT, confirmed to The Canary that there would be a “stretch target”. As Barns stated:
The courts are considering how much the case will cost and the financial risks are massive and potentially much higher than £15k.
Stop the arms trade
Figures released by The Independent and CAAT show why people are so keen to fund the campaign. Since the start of the Yemen war, arms sales to Saudi Arabia have increased by 457%. According to the United Nations, at least 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict and 3m people have been displaced.
CAAT states that:
Over £4.6 billion worth of arms sales have been licensed by the UK government to Saudi Arabia since the conflict started, including £1.9 billion worth of bombs and missiles.
And it says that:
The Saudi bombing has struck schools and hospitals, and decimated vast residential areas… 80% of the population now require urgent aid, and a child is dying every 10 minutes from preventable diseases.
By all and any means necessary
As The Canary previously reported, campaigners are taking a range of actions to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia. And in October, two people were found not guilty of trying to damage a warplane destined for the Saudi Arabia.
Barns pointed out one of the reasons the case is so important:
Before he resigned, the then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said that parliament needs to stop criticising Saudi Arabia because it is affecting arms sales. If criticism from parliament is affecting arms sales then imagine what we can do with a legal case.
And he highlighted the massive opposition to the arms sales:
We know that 76% of UK population are against UK arms sales to human rights abusers. It’s time to really put the pressure on. And we really hope that those who are in a position to do so can get behind the campaign.
We are all being given a chance to help put an end to the sales for good. And it shows that through employing a range of tactics, from legal challenges to direct action, we can put arms sales in the public spotlight, and we can make a difference.
– Support CAAT’s CrowdJustice campaign.
– Find your local arms company.
– Support Campaign Against Arms Trade.
Featured image via Wikimedia
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