Yemen – letter to the press
We have recently written this letter to the press expressing our concern about the situation there:
Bury Quakers are concerned over the government’s decision to reduce aid to Yemen. The country has been devastated by war for six years. Around 20 million people (two-thirds of the population) are dependent upon humanitarian assistance. Two million children are acutely malnourished, cholera and dengue fever are endemic and the country’s healthcare system has collapsed, leaving it unable to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The situation in Yemen has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the Secretary-General of the United Nations has said that the cut in aid amounts to a “death sentence”.
The United Kingdom is supplying armaments and military training to the Saudi Arabian armed forces who lead the coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in Yemen and who are carrying out bombing raids in rebel areas without regard to the civilian population. Whilst our government has cut humanitarian aid to Yemen from £164 million to £84 million, the
published value of UK arms licensed for export to the Saudi-led coalition since the bombing began in March 2016, is £6.3 billion: that being £6300 million for clear comparison. These figures do not include the cost of continuing maintenance, training and technical support that BAE systems provides to the Saudi Royal Air Force. We applaud the decision of President Biden to end US support for Saudi offensive operations in Yemen and call for the United Kingdom to take similar action.
In accordance with our Testimony to peace, we urge people of good faith to write to our MP, Jo Churchill, to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, and to the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly, asking that they reconsider both the cut in aid and the arms sales which make possible the continuation of armed conflict in Yemen.
(photo by Peter Biro)