Friday, July 10, 2020

Saudi Arms Trade - Shameful and Deadly

Britain’s decision to resume selling arms to Saudi Arabia is tantamount to signing the death warrants of thousands of children in the Middle East, the  War Child charity has warned.

Rob Williams, chief executive, said: “By allowing these arms sales, the UK will be complicit in the suffering and murder of children in what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It is tantamount to signing the death warrants of thousands of children in Yemen.”

The UN suggest the Saudi coalition has been responsible for killing and injuring at least 3,481 children in the five-year-old conflict – which has also claimed at least 100,000 adult lives and been described by the organisation as a humanitarian crisis “of cataclysmic proportions”. Schools, hospitals, weddings and food infrastructure have all been bombed. It is said both sides expect the worst of each other and are rarely disappointed.
Colette Fearon, War Child’s director of programmes and advocacy, told The Independent: “The arms the UK are providing to Saudi Arabia flies in the face of all our commitments to protection of children and the upholding of human rights.” And she added: “To stand up and proclaim to be a supporter of human rights and rules-based systems and, yet, at the same time, trade arms when we know this was declared illegal, is unacceptable.”

 Two million children, plus a million pregnant or breastfeeding women, require treatment for acute malnutrition.

Nearly 10 million people are facing acute food shortages in Yemen and urgent action is needed to avert a famine, the United Nations's World Food Programme (WFP) has said.

"The humanitarian situation is deteriorating at an alarming rate, pushing people to the edge," WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told a virtual briefing in Geneva "We must act now. If we wait for famine to be declared, it will already be too late as people will already be dying."

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