Sunday, March 19, 2017

Yemen - a “forgotten war”

Imagine a boat full of innocent refugees, men, women and children, being machine-gunned by a helicopter gunship leaving dozens dead and many more wounded. Wouldn't that make the headlines in the media and lead to very vocal condemnation by the government? Not in the UK. And, perhaps, the reason is that the perpetrators of the crime happens to be one of Britain's biggest weapons customers.

Many people in the UK are still unaware of the extent of the bloody civil war in the Yemen and the large-scale bombing being led by Saudi Arabia. A poll shows only 49% Britons know of civil war as it enters third year of bloodshed. The figure was even lower for the 18 to 24 age group, where only 37 per cent were aware of the Yemen conflict 

More than 10,000 people have been killed, three million, displaced and 14 million facing starvation. Fewer than half of Yemen’s health facilities are operational as aid agencies struggle to access war-torn regions with lifesaving medicine, and around 1,000 children die every week from preventable diseases like diarrhoea and respiratory infections.

The crisis in Yemen has been forgotten about or ignored completely,” said CEO of the Human Appeal, a Manchester-based charity Othman Moqbel. “We believe this is because that the conflict has not generated a huge amount of refugees coming to Europe and there is the misperception amongst the public that it’s only a regional crisis. To treat what is currently happening in Yemen, and has been happening for two years, as something insignificant is turning a blind eye to the escalating humanitarian emergency.”
British-manufactured weapons, including cluster bombs, have been used in the strikes, and calls to suspend arm sales to Saudi Arabia over war crimes have been ignored.
Peter Salisbury, a senior research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, said Britain was the principal sponsor of a UN Security Council resolution used by Saudi Arabia to justify its intervention. The UK is also a huge arms supplier and provides a great deal of logistical support to Saudi forces,” he told The Independent“Arguably the UK has also given political coverage to the Saudis by preventing various resolutions and investigations from happening.”

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