Stop selling British weapons for Saudi massacres in Yemen

This video says about itself:

27 September 2016

Britain has been accused of blocking the UN inquiry into atrocities in Yemen allegedly carried out by its theocratic ally Saudi Arabia.

In an open letter to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), a group of NGOs has alleged that the UK is blocking the progress of the inquiry by failing to give backing to an effort by the Netherlands to set up a full investigation.

Since the conflict began the UK has sold more than £3 billion (US$3.9 billion) in arms to the Saudi regime and provided training on targeting both by warplanes and artillery.

The groups, including Human Rights Watch and Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), have said that the inquiry would “establish the facts, collect and preserve information related to violations and abuses with a view to ensuring that those responsible for crimes are brought to justice in fair trials.”

The letter, which was coordinated by the medical peace group Medact, puts a powerful case for a proper examination of allegations.

“As health professionals, we have a duty to speak out against all causes of ill health in Yemen. This must include the sale and export of UK weaponry that is fueling the conflict.”

Speaking for his organization, CAAT’s media head Andrew Smith said: “For 18 months now, UK arms have been central to the destruction of Yemen.

“The aid that is being given amounts to a small fraction of the damage that has been caused and pales in comparison to the £3.3 billion worth of arms that have been licensed.”

He called for Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to “end the arms sales and put a stop to the uncritical support that the UK provides for the Saudi regime.”

Johnson last week claimed that the UK was “using a very, very wide variety of information sources about what is happening to acquaint ourselves with the details” of events in the war-torn country.

Saudi Arabia has been fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015. Estimates for those displaced by the war are around 2.5 million while 50 percent of the population are reported to be suffering from malnourishment.

By Zoe Streatfield in Britain:

Saudis admit to massacre at Yemen funeral

Tuesday 18th October 2016

Activists demand Tories to end arms sales

PEACE activists blasted the Tory government yesterday for selling arms to Saudi Arabia after an investigation revealed that Saudi forces had killed over a hundred civilians in a bombing raid.

The publication of a report by the Saudi-led Joint Incidents Assessment Team admitted that their forces were responsible for the bombing of a funeral in Yemen’s capital Sanaa that killed 140 people and injured over 500 more.

Despite revelations about human rights abuses, the Tory government has licensed over £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Gulf state including drones, missiles, tanks and aircraft.

And Britain’s largest arms company, BAE Systems, announced that it has begun talks to sell more warplanes to Saudi Arabia — a move supported by the government.

Campaign Against Arms Trade’s (CAAT) Andrew Smith said: “On paper UK arms export controls are very clear.

“The legislation says that if there is a clear risk that UK arms might be used to violate international humanitarian law then exports should not go ahead.

“How much more serious does the crisis have to get before the government finally stops arming one of the most abusive regimes in the world?”

The Saudi-led bombing campaign has been condemned by the United Nations, the European Parliament, Amnesty International and almost every single NGO that has people on the ground in Yemen.

British arms sales to Saudi Arabia are currently subject to a judicial review, following an application by CAAT.

The claim calls on the government to suspend all existing licences and stop issuing further arms licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review into whether the exports are compatible with British and EU legislation.

A three-day review will take place in front of two judges no later than February 1 next year.

A Labour spokeswoman called on the government to “urgently review its support for the Saudi-led coalition, as well as placing an immediate suspension on the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia until there has been a full, independent, UN-led investigation into these attacks against civilians.”

A Momentum spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership forced a government U-turn on Saudi prison contracts last year and continues to draw attention to Saudi human rights abuses at home and in Yemen.”

BirdLife on Yemen: What do conservationists do when they can’t do surveys, can’t implement grass-root activities, can’t meet with local people or government representatives to talk about environmental issues and policies? What if a country is being bombed: here.

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