The war on Yemen has spurred one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East to date with millions of civilians dying of starvation, most of whom are innocent children. The Saudi led offensive was backed by the US and the British government who authorised 18,107 license of open delivery arms to Saudi Arabia to use in the Yemen conflict, according to a new damning report by Control Arms UK. According to the report, 24 million people in Yemen are in need of humanitarian assistance, almost half of them children, and food shortages continue to affect up to 16 million people. This is a devastating amount of civilians who have had to bear the brunt of this completely avoidable tragedy.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been accused of misleading the parliament about UK weapons sales to repressive regimes as it was reported that the UK sent £5bn worth of arms to Riyadh since the conflict first began. Despite the war crimes against innocent civilians and the rising death toll in Yemen, both the UK and US have continued to arm Saudi Arabia in their brutal offensive against a helpless state.
This is a tragedy that should have never been allowed to happen. It is shameful for Britain and to continue arming the Saudi government with weapons that are harming and destroying innocent lives and the country’s vital infrastructure. How can the people of Yemen rebuild and rehabilitate their lives? Those in power need to recognise that by supplying arms to Saudi Arabia they are complicit in the massacring of the Yemeni people and must act now to cease all involvement in this war.
I urge the British government to stop and look at the faces of those children who are suffering from the war in Yemen. Look at the babies who are too weak to cry who bodies are exhausted by hunger. It is a heart-wrenching to even think about it, but this is the reality of what children and civilians have to face in Yemen today.
The people of Yemen have suffered long enough and had to undergo the war since March 2015 when Saudi Arabia, UAE, US and the UK decided to begin the assault in response to the 2014 coup staged by the Iranian-backed Houthis militias. Despite UN condemnation of the way that the Houthis rose to power, the Saudi-led coalition stepped in and began air-strikes in Yemen in an effort to stop Houthi’s advances. It is not only Saudi Arabia that is responsible for the tragedy in Yemen but the Houthi’s also need to end their destructive behaviour. However, with the backing of arms from UK and US, what was to follow was deadly destruction of both the people and the country at large.
Whilst the world can see the destructive and negative effects of the war on Yemen, why can’t the British government speak up and put an end to their involvement in this brutal war and pave the way forward? Why are all the massacres, deaths and targeted air strikes falling on innocent children and civilians? Britain and the US should not feel the shame of having “blood on their hands” for being complicit in sending large amount of open arms to a country who has violated the use of them and caused harm to their own neighbours in the Middle East. I may not have the power to end the war immediately but I have the ability to speak out if it means that just one person will listen and take a stand.
In order to end the war, Britain must make a start to cease all arms sent to Saudi Arabia and the US should follow suit. A resolution should be passed by The Security Council which calls for an immediate end to the war in Yemen. The UN must back this to ensure that political processes are restored. If nothing is done and if no one speaks up, then we will all have to live with the fact that we could have taken action over the injustice. The Saudi regime and international allies have the power to put an end to the suffering of innocent civilians in Yemen. However, only the international community can come together to put pressure on these governments to act now and change the lives of those clinging onto life in Yemen.