I am writing to you to express my disgust at Britain’s ongoing facilitation of mass murder in Yemen.
As I am sure you aware, Britain’s policy on the war on Yemen, as spelt out by Philip Hammond in March 2015, is to “support the Saudis in every practical way short of engaging in combat”. This support has included supplying £6 billion worth of weapons; the training of Saudi forces; logistical assistance (such as the deployment of 166 British personnel within the Saudi military, including advisors involved with targeting airstrikes); and the repeated blocking of an international inquiry into war crimes.
The evidence of war crimes being committed by the forces Britain is supporting is overwhelming. One in three airstrikes has been against civilian targets and infrastructure, including the country’s main port (crippling its capacity to provide vital imports), airport, bridges essential to maintaining food supplies, water desalination plants, and hospitals, not to mention funerals, weddings and markets. In addition, those forces have mounted a cruel and vicious blockade, systematically delaying or preventing vital civilian imports into Yemen. For a country dependent on imports for 85% of its food, fuel and medicine, this is nothing less than a death sentence against the population. The combined effects of airstrikes, the blockade, and the Hadi government’s wilful decision to stop paying medical and sanitation staff in rebel-held areas has now plunged Yemen into the biggest cholera outbreak in the world since records began in 1949.
Thanks to this war, one child is infected with cholera every 35 seconds, one child enters the ranks of the severely malnourished every two and half minutes, and one child now now dies of starvation or preventable illness every ten minutes.
The recent three-week total blockade of even humanitarian supplies has, in addition, led to a growing diptheria outbreak, which is claiming further lives every day. 50,000 children have now died of starvation and preventable diseases in Yemen this year alone.
I believe my government is complicit in genocide in Yemen. I am writing to ask you to support the following demands:
First and foremost, that Britain pulls out of the war on Yemen. This must include:
- An immediate halt to all arms sales to Saudi Arabia
- The withdrawal of all British military advisors from Saudi Arabia
- An end to Britain’s training of the Saudi airforce
- The cutting of diplomatic relations with all countries blockading Yemen
Secondly, transparency. Britain must come clean about the full extent of its role in Yemen. This must include:
- The publication of the secret ‘memorandum of understanding’ between Theresa May and Saudi Arabia in March 2014
- An end to the British policy of blocking or sabotaging UN enquiries into war crimes in Yemen
- The establishment of and full cooperation with, an independent UN investigation into the role played by Britain in the war and blockade against Yemen, including: a) the role of the 150 Brits deployed with the Saudi military and b) the secret deployment of HMS Daring off the shores of Yemen in November 2016.
Finally, accountability and reparations. British policy has directly facilitated the deaths of 50,000 Yemeni children this year alone, and we believe that not only should this stop and be exposed, but that those responsible must face the full consequences of their actions. In particular:
- All members of the British government for the period of British involvement in the Yemeni war must face justice, preferably through an independent court or tribunal (over which Britain and its allies have no influence).
- Britain and its allies must pay full reparations to Yemen for all the damage they have caused, including compensation for injury and destruction of property; healthcare and pensions for the wounded and their families; trauma counselling, etc.
I eagerly await your reply,