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LONDON, October 17

Kevin Watkins, CEO of the Save the Children, said:

"This week, the UK Government is being challenged like never before on how much it can trust the conduct of its Saudi allies; but in Yemen this has been an open question for over three years. Britain’s ally Saudi Arabia has consistently flouted the international rules and norms of warfare and diplomacy by repeatedly attacking civilians and vital infrastructure in Yemen. All sides are committing violations of international law, and the Government’s support for one party in Yemen’s brutal conflict is untenable.

“On October 9th Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the UK-Saudi relationship is a friendship based on shared values. Yet in the same week, an estimated 700 children in Yemen died from extreme hunger and 1,500 children are suspected to have contracted cholera as a direct consequence of actions by the Saudi-led Coalition. According to UN figures, more than 6,000 children have been killed or maimed in airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition since the escalation of the conflict. A man-made famine is a very real possibility, the worst in 100 years according to the UN, and all parties to the conflict are to blame.

“Britain must lead by example; disregard for the international rules-based system must always have consequences. Suspending all arms sales to Saudi Arabia until we can be sure British-made bombs aren’t being used to commit grave violations against children in Yemen would send a clear signal. And whilst bombs continue to fall on children, Britain and the international community must redouble their efforts to protect children and their families caught up in the conflict and take a stronger lead in bringing it to an end. Rules matter everywhere, even in wars. Britain cannot continue to stay silent as our Saudi allies break them in Yemen. It is children who are suffering the consequences.”  


For multimedia content and case studies, including stories of children affected by the school bus attack in Saada in August that left at least 40 children dead, see here:


For more information or to arrange an interview contact:


Bhanu Bhatnagar


+44 7467 096788




+44 7831 650409