William Eichler 02 October 2019

Brighton councillors criticise arms manufacturer for ‘deadly bombs’ used in Yemen

Councillors in Brighton have called on the Government to stop a local business from manufacturing ‘deadly bombs and weapons’ after the company was named in a UN report.

A United Nations Panel of Experts report found evidence of bomb fragments from the Moulsecoomb-based EDO MBM Technology Ltd used in a Saudi-led airstrike on a water pump factory in war-torn Yemen in September 2016.

While EDO MBM are not accused of breaking any laws or regulations, the UN found the attack by Saudi Arabia ‘violated international humanitarian law’.

The Brighton councillors have written to the defence secretary Ben Wallace MP demanding he carry out an investigation in the wake of the attack.

Thirty-three Labour, Green and Conservative councillors, plus Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, signed the letter which states: ‘As you will know, the targeting of civilian infrastructure that has no dual use for military purpose is a war crime.

‘We are therefore extremely concerned that the Government has issued a licence for a weapon that has been used illegally.’

The Court of Appeal ruled in June that the Government had broken the law by licensing arms exports to Saudi Arabia, which is involved in the civil war in Yemen, a conflict which has cost the lives of thousands of civilians.

The letter adds: ‘We therefore call on you to suspend all extant licences (OIELs) which EDO MBM and other companies used in this case and fully investigate this matter.

‘If the information is found to be correct, we request that you revoke licenses used by EDO MBM and its partners to sell weapons parts and arms.’

Council leader Nancy Platts commented: ‘We were all horrified to read the newspaper story. The Government is clearly failing to ensure weapons manufactured in Britain – and worse still here in Brighton – are not used to target civilians.

‘We need a full investigation and reassurances from the secretary of state that these violations will not happen again.

‘I wish that the EDO MBM factory was not based in Brighton or anywhere in the UK for that matter as I am personally opposed to the UK arms trade, however that is outside our powers as a local authority.’

Photo: anasalhajj/Shutterstock.com

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