Human Rights Watch has asked the Australia government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to halt all military sales to Saudi Arabia, citing their dire human rights record in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has destroyed all basic infrastructure while fighting the Houthi rebel forces in Yemen.
Australia director at Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson in a letter said, “Prime Minister Turnbull has approved military sales to Saudi Arabia when he should be using Australia’s leverage to press Riyadh to end unlawful airstrikes in Yemen. Until the Saudi-led coalition credibly investigates and curtails its unlawful attacks, Australia should stop selling them arms and equipment.”
Saudi Arabia is an ally and Australia holds diplomatic relations with the Kingdom. However, even many in the government oppose these sales, including Senator Scott Ludlam, the Greens spokesperson on Foreign Affairs. In a recent interview to Michael Brull of New Matilda, in response to if Australia should stop sales to the kingdom, he said, “I think it should go a little broader than that, I can’t think of a better example of the need for a broad–based arms embargo, and yes, that would obviously start with our great and powerful allies. But the civilian population being pulverized and starved, and yes that conflict is being fuelled by weaponry and you know, other kinds of logistical intelligence support from outside the region.”
There are obvious concerns over Australia’s foreign policy, and how it helps bring peace to the Middle East.