RNA - The UN report verified 552 children killed in 2017 in Yemen. 67% of those children, 370, were directly attributable to the Saudi coalition, predominantly the result of Saudi airstrikes. The report also says Saudi airstrikes killing civilians have been an ongoing problem since the invasion.
To avoid international condemnation, and instead of ending the war and blockade, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly demanded the UN retract previous statements, and at times they have. Making the statement fully public is also more difficult, with the US and Britain, who are backing the invasion, generally supporting keeping it secret.
This does in no way mean that there should be no more pressure on Saudi Arabia over the war. The international community has already given the country a stark warning over their actions in the conflict. It should now issue a resolution that condemns the Saudis and forces them to stop the senseless fighting.
According to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the war in Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with over 22.5 million people or two-thirds of the population in desperate need of aid, food and protection. Saudi Arabia has been bombing the country since 2015, and this month Saudi Arabia and its allies strengthened pre-existing blockades on Yemeni ports, airports and borders crossings; restricting food, aid and vital supplies from entering the country. To that end, fighting still continues in the port city of Hodeidah.
The Saudi-led coalition claims the fighting and the restrictions on Hodeidah is a humanitarian campaign, but according to international aid workers, who recently visited the port, it’s a ‘wasteland’. The UN Security Council also warned last month that conditions in the port were further deteriorating as a result of ongoing bombing and blockade. The question is how come the West is not doing anything?
How come instead of helping millions of Yemeni civilians who lack clean drinking water and food and are at very high risk of a cholera epidemic, the West is doing the opposite? According to the UN, over eight million Yemeni citizens are severely malnourished and “do not know where they will obtain their next meal,” and that children are dying from preventable causes at an alarming rate. Surely, the response from the West shouldn’t be selling Saudi Arabia new weaponry and helping it to target civilians.
Sadly, this is exactly what certain Western governments have been doing since the beginning of the war. Worse still, French President Emmanuel Macron is set to welcome Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Paris for a trip; the latest destination in a world-wide tour for the 32-year-old Prince and de-facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. Don’t be surprised if the two also signed new arms sales worth tens of billions of dollars.
International human rights groups are calling on Macron to pressure Prince Mohammed to take action to protect the civilian population and to end the conflict. A statement from Amnesty International, the International Federation for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, says, “Emmanuel Macron should put Yemen at the centre of his discussions with Mohammed bin Salman as he hosts him in France. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France must do its utmost to demand that Saudi Arabia respects its international obligations.”
According to Fars News Agancy, the human rights groups should also urge the US and Britain to end their military support, call for the end of bombing of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law, and the unconditional and permanent lifting of restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid and commercial goods to Yemen.
The US and the UK, like France, are major sellers of arms to Saudi Arabia, and they are doing little to stop the flow of lethal weapons to the Saudi military campaign. They are all working behind the scenes to drive the war forward. They are also using their diplomatic influence at the UN to ensure there will be no resolutions against Saudi Arabia. They have never bothered to broker any meaningful talks between the warring factions. But they are all good at one thing:
Supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia and providing targeting training to its soldiers and pilots – even though the supply of weapons and helping the Saudis to kill civilians, including women and children, does breach the international Arms Trade Treaty and violate International Humanitarian Law.