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How Can a Pen Save Children in Yemen?

Today, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that that “the UK is discussing with UN Security Council partners what more the Council can do to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.”

This is a big deal. Let me explain why.

The UK is the ‘penholder’ on Yemen at the UN Security Council. That means that the UK has the power to draft and table Security Council products on Yemen – including press statements, resolutions, and presidential statements, and more. It means they have the power to lead the way in efforts to forge a political, not military, solution to the conflict.

Words, Not Weapons

For too long, the UK Government has not gone far enough in using these powers. Instead, the UK has helped fuel the war, providing arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are some of the main parties to the conflict.

With Jeremy Hunt’s announcement, and the messages coming out of the US in recent weeks, it is becoming clear that there is movement, and the chances of success are improving for action from the Security Council.

Rather than selling bombs, we think that the Government should step up and lead on Yemen at the UN Security Council. We believe that it is words, not weapons, that will bring peace to Yemen’s children.

That’s why today we launched a new campaign – The Power of Your Pen – calling on the UK Government to use its penholder powers at the UNSC to lead way in building peace in Yemen.

5 things the UK should include in a UN resolution on Yemen

We think that anything the UK writes at the Security Council must cover 5 key points:

  1. Call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and to agree a comprehensive ceasefire to end the fighting.
  2. Be balanced, calling for all sides to engage in good faith in negotiations, without preconditions.
  3. Help protect children, by calling for independent investigations into violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, ensuring accountability for anyone found to have broken the rules.
  4. Enable humanitarian and commercial access to all air and sea ports, and throughout the country, including the reopening of Sana’a airport for commercial flights.
  5. Make sure that any peace talks are inclusive and diverse, including the voices of children, youth, women and civil society, to ensure a durable peace.

The Power of your Pen

Over recent weeks, the Government has faced mounting criticism over its relationship with Saudi Arabia. In September, for the first time ever, our polling found that the majority of Conservative voters- 52%- think that the UK should stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, and just 14% of people think that the UK/Saudi relationship ‘reflects British values’.

The more people that tell the Government that they need to change course, the more powerful our voice. That’s why we’re building a movement to demonstrate to them just how many of us want to see the UK step up at the UNSC.

We’re asking people to join the campaign by signing the petition, and with each signature we will send a pen (don’t worry – they’re fully recyclable and environmentally friendly!) to the Government, demonstrating to them how many of us believe that words, not weapons, will bring peace to Yemen’s children.

You can get involved by…

a) signing the petition and pledging your own pen!
b) Sharing the campaign on social media

Together, we can show that words, not weapons, will bring peace to Yemen.

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