Saturday, August 19, 2017

Killing Kids

Business as usual
The Saudi Arabian military coalition – which receives logistical support, weapons and political backing from the US and UK – has been accused of killing hundreds of children in Yemen, according to a confidential UN report.

 51 per cent of all child deaths and injuries in Yemen last year were the result of the Saudi-led military operation. It says the deaths were “unacceptably high”. The report said the Houthi rebels and affiliated forces were responsible for nearly a third of the total child casualties. 

“Attacks carried out by air caused over half of all child casualties, with at least 349 killed and 333 injured,” said the report.

“The United Nations was informed of measures taken by the coalition in 2016 to reduce the impact of conflict on children. However, despite these measures, grave violations against children continued at unacceptably high levels in 2016.”

Britain has also continued to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia despite mounting worries over civilian deaths. A British court ruled that such sales could continue despite humanitarian concerns and rejected an appeal by the Campaign Against Arms Trade to stop them. Last year, the UK Government did consider suspending arms sales after a strike in October 2016 killed 140 civilians attending a funeral. In the end, Britain, which has sold around $3.8bn of weapons to Saudi Arabia over the past two years and is its biggest supplies of arms, decided to continue with the sales.

In May, Trump visited Saudi Arabia where he delivered a major speech before Muslim leaders and announced multiple agreements between American and Saudi companies, including between the Saudi oil giant Aramco. “That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States,” he said. “Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said of the UN report: “The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is among the worst in the world, and the bombardment is making it even worse. This couldn't have happened without the complicit support of governments like the UK, which have armed and supported Saudi forces every step of the way. For decades now, the Saudi regime has had one of the worst human rights records in the world, and that brutality has been on full display in its destruction of Yemen.”

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