UK Government cuts aid to starving Yemen
Arab Organisation for the Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) is disappointed to note that the U.K. government continues to reduce the amount of aid it will give to war-torn Yemen, at a time when British-made weapons continue to be used against civilians in the country.
A major UN-organised conference held on 1 March called for increased international aid to Yemen. The UN’s pledging conference aimed to raise $3.85 billion, as famine threatens the lives of 100s of 1000s Yemenis. However, less than half of that amount was raised. Following the conference, the UN’s Secretary-General stated that “millions of Yemeni children, women and men desperately need aid to live. Cutting aid is a death sentence”.
AOHR UK notes that “Britain pledged £87m at Monday’s event – 54% of last year’s donation of £160m, and only 40% of the total funding the UK provided in 2020”, as was subsequently reported.
The U.K. government’s decision to cut funding is being maintained, as both the military and food-security situations in Yemen markedly worsen.
The UN estimates that over 16 million Yemenis will face hunger this year. Almost 50,000 people are “already starving in famine-like conditions”.
In terms of continued fighting, on 18 February this year, the United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told the UN’s Security Council that “the conflict in Yemen has taken a sharp escalatory turn”, with fighting arriving to Marib province, and its capital, Marib City. British arms exports are widely acknowledged to play a major role in the conflict.
After British arms sales to Saudi were renewed in July 2020, figures show that the UK government allowed almost £1.4 billion worth of weapons exports to the country over the subsequent three months.The Saudi-led coalition’s deadly air-strikes continued unabated throughout that period.
Britain has thus far refused to join the US in banning the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia.
AOHR UK therefore again implores the British government to both cease arming the Saudi-led coalition forces in the country, most of all with weapons that have been allegedly used against Yemen’s civilian population, and to increase emergency aid to the country.