Stop UK-made weapons claiming Yemeni lives
Schools, hospitals, mosques, funeral halls - it seems nothing is off-limits for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and their campaign of air strikes on Yemen.
We know that UK-made weapons are amongst those claiming Yemeni lives. By continuing to supply Saudi Arabia and the coalition with arms, the UK risks complicity in acts that may amount to war crimes. The UK government is now being taken to court over the legality of these arms transfers – and they are feeling the pressure. Now is the time to act. Tell your MP to call for an immediate end to UK arms transfers to Saudi Arabia.
Stop UK-made weapons claiming Yemeni lives
'My girls were killed and I wish I had died with them. I have nothing else in life.'
Salama, who lost three daughters in the bombing of a school in Aden where displaced people were sheltering
In March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia – including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait – launched air strikes against the Houthi armed group and allied forces in Yemen.
Since then, the people of Yemen have been trapped in the middle of bloody clashes between Houthi forces and pro-government forces on the ground, while the Saudi Arabia-led coalition carries out repeated airstrikes from above – with very little regard for Yemeni lives.
Rising death toll
According to the UN, more than 11,000 civilians have been killed or injured since the conflict began, with up to 21 million in need of humanitarian assistance. Hunger among children has reached an all-time high, with almost half a million suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
Schools, hospitals and funeral halls
This flagrant violation of the Yemeni people's right to life has been well documented.
We investigated five coalition air strikes on schools between August and October that killed five civilians and injured at least 14 others, including four children.
At least 19 people were killed and 24 injured in an airstrike by the coalition on a Yemeni hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières in August 2016. At the time, UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, raised concerns about Houthi actions but fell short of condemning the coalition’s airstrikes.
A ‘double tap’ bombing (two consecutive air strikes) of a funeral hall in October which killed at least 100 and injured a further 500 Yemeni people was simply blamed on wrong information regarding the nature of the target.
In one airstrike in July 2015 on a home in Dammaj valley, coalition forces killed eight children from the same family, and injured nine other relatives.
‘There were 19 people in the house when it was bombed. All but one were women and children. The children who would usually be outside during the day were in the house because it was lunchtime. They were all killed or injured. One of the dead was a 12-day-old baby.’ Abdullah Ahmed Yahya al-Sailami, whose one-year-old son was among those killed.
In May 2016, our research team discovered a UK-made cluster bomb, used by the coalition in a strike on a farm in Yemen. Cluster bombs are internationally banned weapons.
After evading the issue for months, in December, the UK finally admitted that UK-made cluster munitions had indeed been used in Yemen in late 2015 – but only after Saudi Arabia admitted to it also.
At least 16 civilians - including nine children - have been maimed, and two children killed by cluster munitions. Many more people are still at risk from unexploded cluster bombs left in their neighbourhoods.
Despite all the damning evidence, the UK is still licensing arms worth billions of pounds to Saudi Arabia.
The UK is breaking the law
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is tracking over 200 possible cases of human rights violations by the Saudia Arabia-led coalition in Yemen, yet the UK government still believes this isn't reason enough to end arms transfers. Instead they are waiting for Saudi Arabia to carry out its own investigation.
We believe, by continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia the UK is breaking its own laws, as well as international law. The Arms Trade Treaty is one such law. It was put in place to prevent human suffering because of reckless arms sales.
Not only has the UK failed to uphold a historic agreement championed by the UK government and with cross-party support, it has failed the people of Yemen.
Our government must no longer ignore images of women, men and children devastated by the atrocities they’ve witnessed, knowing it is the UK fuelling this bloody conflict.
The UK government is in breach of the Arms Trade Treaty as well as domestic and EU law, and is, therefore, being taken to court.
Now is the time to act. We need you to write to your MP to demand an immediate end to UK arms transfers to Saudi Arabia.
It works. Your MP is your voice in Parliament and we really need your voice to get this issue raised in Parliament – as much as possible.
What we’re calling for
The UK must end its transfers of arms to members of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition which is carrying out unlawful and indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen.
They must not supply weapons that could be used to commit human rights violations or war crimes.
They must urge Saudi Arabia and the coalition to destroy any remaining cluster munitions.
There must also be an independent enquiry into the supply of arms to Saudi Arabia and all parties currently involved in the Yemen conflict.