It’s time for the West to put lives of citizens in Yemen above profits back home

The Civil War in Yemen is in its third year and is no closer to coming to an end. According to the UN,  the Saudi led coalition is engaged in active war crimes against Yemeni civilians, from bombing hospitals, markets, funerals, weddings, farms, to even bombing schools. And the worst part is, we’re supporting and arming them.

Theresa May’s government has been quick to condemn alleged wrongdoings by the Syrian government against civilians. She however fails to condemn the Saudi government killing Yemeni civilians. The key difference? She’s complicit in the deaths of those in Yemen.

Five billion pounds worth of British-made missiles and bombs have been sold to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, and recently 40 children were killed by a Saudi warplane. When confronted with this reality the response from the Prime Minister is “we have a historic and important link with Saudi Arabia” The Foreign Minister? Links with Riyadh help “keep the streets of Britain safe”.

A UN report released on Tuesday catalogues abuses including rape, torture, disappearances and “deprivation of the right to life” during the three-year Yemeni conflict.

In a section of the report, the three experts said the Saudi-led coalition routinely failed to consult its own “no-strike list” of more than 30,000 sites in Yemen, including refugee camps and hospitals. They also said the Saudi air force had failed to cooperate with them about its targeting process.

As a result of the Saudi blockade, aid organizations like Save the Children will be out of food and medicine stocks in the next two to three months. If left untreated some 20 to 30 percent of children with severe acute malnutrition will die every year.

It should be remembered that famines usually don’y kill people because there is no food at all. What usually happens is that the food becomes too expensive for the poor to purchase. This situation now exists in Yemen and obviously the Saudi blockade, by princes who are obviously getting three square meals a day, is driving up the price of food for Yemenis.

They are conducting this war with British, American, and French-made arms. They are conducting it with western military training and advice, including training pilots, overseeing airstrikes, and advising on targets. Twenty-two million Yemenis need aid. Eight million are at risk of starvation. Efforts to curb the humanitarian crisis have been hampered by the Saudi-led coalition’s blockade of ports, which has been partially eased to allow UN aid ships to bring food supplies.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam Chief Executive, said:

“In the midst of the world’s worst cholera epidemic on record and with the country on the brink of the worst famine in recent years, the UK needs to do more than talk tough – it needs to exert real pressure and take action. As the country responsible for drafting UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen, the UK should be ready to step up international pressure on Saudi Arabia to persuade them to lift the blockade and on all sides push for peace. The Government should stop authorizing arms sales which are fuelling the war in Yemen. It is a shameful contradiction that the UK is allowing for profiting out of people’s suffering. If the Prime Minister’s pleas fall on deaf ears, sanctions on the Saudi-led coalition should be introduced to force them to face up to their actions, and to prevent countless more people becoming innocent victims of the conflict, starvation and disease.”

What the British public can do is to write to their local MPs, let them know you do not support this war. And most importantly support a party which opposed to such barbarism, such as Labour. These are vital steps that must be taken by all.

With this Tory government profiting from this disastrous war, it is very unlikely that it will do anything to stop it, so vote in a government that will.


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