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YEMEN: Save the Children's response to draft report on arms

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

In response to media reports on the draft report by the Committee on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) on the Yemen Crisis:

Kirsty McNeill, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at Save the Children, said: “We welcome the Committee’s report which says the UK should suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia and back an international inquiry to establish the facts around alleged violations of international law in Yemen.

“We must remember that the Yemen crisis is first and foremost a children’s crisis. The UN says thousands of Yemeni children have been killed and maimed, and their schools and hospitals attacked. Meanwhile, insecurity and a previous de-facto blockade have prevented vital food, fuel and medical supplies from reaching the families who desperately need them. Now, one in every three Yemeni children under five - approximately 1.3 million - is suffering from acute malnutrition and goes to bed hungry every night. The ongoing conflict has prevented aid agencies like ours from operating freely on the ground, limiting access to lifesaving aid and the aid workers needed to deliver it.

“Save the Children has been campaigning for an independent international investigation into alleged violations of international law by both sides in the Yemen conflict and for the UK to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia while there is a risk they are being used to commit these crimes - including against children. We are therefore also calling on Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, to back a resolution to establish an international investigation when the UN Human Rights Council meets in Geneva later this month. This is a concrete opportunity finally to get to the bottom of alleged violations by all parties to the conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition, which investigations carried out by Saudi Arabia itself cannot deliver.

“Children must always be protected in war and now the UK government has a unique opportunity to remind the world that war can and must have limits.”