HEADLINES

UK: Government Says Saudi Arabia “May Be” Committing War Crimes In Yemen

Originally Published (July 22, 2016). Belfast Telegraph. Video and photos added.

Yemeni blind men shout slogans during a demonstration gathering disabled people to protest after a center for the blind was reportedly destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in the capital Sanaa on January 6, 2016. (Photo: AFP /Getty). Yemeni blind men shout slogans during a demonstration gathering disabled people to protest after a center for the blind was reportedly destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes in the capital Sanaa on January 6, 2016. (Photo: AFP /Getty).

The British government has quietly issued reams of corrections to previous ministerial statements in which they claimed that Saudi Arabia is not targeting civilians or committing war crimes. The autocratic petro-state is currently engaged in a bombing campaign in Yemen where it has blown up hospitals, schools, and weddings as part of its intervention against Houthi rebels.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s high commissioner for human rights, has said that “carnage” caused by certain Saudi coalition airstrikes against civilian targets appear to be war crimes.

Britain has been a staunch defender of the dictatorship’s assault, with UK arms companies supplying billions in weapons and ministers staking their reputation on the conduct of the Saudi Arabian armed forces.

However as MPs went back to their constituencies for recess on Thursday the Foreign Office admitted six ministerial statements from the past year “did not fully reflect” the real situation.

In many cases ministers had denied war crimes were being committed – statements the FCO now believes went too far. Instead, ministers were meant to only say that they had not actively confirmed that war crimes were being committed.

In February, then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, said:

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

UK Chancellor, Philip Hammond.

we have assessed that there has not been a breach of international humanitarian law by the coalition”, the Foreign Office noted.

It added: However, these should have stated … ‘we have not assessed that there has been a breach of IHL by the coalition’.

On another occasion, the FCO noted, Mr Hammond, who is now the Chancellor, had said:

“‘The MOD assessment is that the Saudi-led coalition is not targeting civilians; that Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law; and that the Saudis both have been and continue to be genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law.

The correction continued:

This should have said, ‘…The MOD has not assessed that the Saudi-led coalition is targeting civilians. We have assessed that Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law; and that the Saudis both have been and continue to be genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law.

The UK has repeatedly refused calls from the European Parliament and House of Commons international development committee to stop selling weapons to the autocratic monarchy.

Oliver Sprague, Amnesty UK’s Arms Programme Director, said:

Oliver Sprague is Programme Director of Arms Control and Policing at Amnesty International UK.

Oliver Sprague, Programme Director of Arms Control and Policing at Amnesty International UK.

This is jaw-dropping stuff. The government has admitted grossly misleading parliament no fewer than six times on issues as serious as the deaths of civilians in Yemen.

The government has spent most of this year telling us that assessments had been conducted and it was confident that no breach of international law had occurred – when it’s now apparent no specific assessment of Saudi operations had been done whatsoever.

“It appears that what the UK government is admitting is to only having reviewed general Saudi procedures rather than investigating the many actual reports of unlawful attacks.

“It’s staggering that such a shameful admission is made at the eleventh hour on the last day of parliament. It’s not even doublespeak, it’s just plain wrong.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade, which has led calls for a boycott, said:

This is a stunning piece of back-peddling, and the timing feels very cynical.

The corrections reveal that Philip Hammond’s original statements were either totally wrong or outright distortions.

UK arms have been central to the devastation inflicted on Yemen and it’s time for the government to come clean about its role.

Official figures reported by The Independent in January this year show sales of British bombs and missiles to the country increased 100 times in the three-month period since the start of the attacks on Yemen.

The sales jumped from £9m ($14,650,822.07 USD) in the previous three months to £1bn (1,567,451,085.57 USD).

Mr Cameron, who stepped down as PM this week following the election of Theresa May to leader of the Conservative party, said in January that Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is “important for our own security”.

Last week The Independent reported that the UK government had refused to rule out re-electing Saudi Arabia to a key UN human rights council.

🔝

Saudi Arabia Human Right’s Violation article’s in Belfast Telegraph:

Belfast Telegraph: Government admits it was wrong to say Saudi Arabia is not targeting civilians or committing war crimes.


We welcome comments and conversation. Scroll down page to use the comment box.

Click Picture for a Popular Article

  • Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985.
  • A malnourished child lies on a weighing machine at a therapeutic feeding Centre at Al Sabyeen hospital in Sana’a. (Reuters)
  • The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is amongst 17 organizations and two individuals that sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today (January 5, 2016) urging him to press Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to halt the execution of Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and several other demonstrators from the country’s marginalized Eastern Province. On October 24 2015, the Saudi Supreme Court ratified the death sentence issued to Sheikh Nimr in October 2014. Since September, the Saudi criminal justice system has also ratified the death sentences of Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon, and Abdullah al-Zaher, three men arrested as minors in 2012 for their protest activity.
  • Two homeless brothers try to survive on the streets of India.
  • Mona Relief Charity on Go Fund Me makes it easy and safe to donate. No amount is too small, or too large.
  • The Canadian Delegation to the United Nations Conference on International Organization, San Francisco, May 1945. (Photo: Public Domain). (Alistair Reign News Blog www.AlistairReignBlog.com).
  • Painted on the side of a building in Bristol, southwest England - home of the celebrated graffiti artist Banksy - the image reprises a 1979 photograph of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker kissing, which was later turned into a mural on the Berlin Wall. It was commissioned by pro-EU campaign group "We are Europe" as what they call a warning of things to come if Britons vote to leave the 28-member bloc on June 23, as advocated by both Johnson and Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate in November's U.S. presidential election. Johnson is the "Out" campaign's best-known leader and Trump has said Britain would be "better off without" the EU, which he has blamed for Europe's migration crisis.
  • Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov listens to U.S. Secretary of State Kerry during a press conference at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York
  • Father says life teaches you many lessons to grow mature&strong and that what we are going through is just the hardest one
  • A U.S. Marine Corps recruit with Company F, 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, provides security aboard Edson Range, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., May 25, 2016. The recruit simulated providing security while the rest of the recruits carried ammo cans to their fighting holes to simulate combat preparation. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps by Lance Cpl. Erick J. ClarosVillalta).
  • ery same government who deliberately allowed this occupation to take place last fall. Regardless of what is happening with a possible injunction application, I urge every person to call the Premier’s office in the morning, telling her she has to get her administration working overtime to get rid of tent city and under no circumstances to move this horror story a block away into Mt. Edwards where we’ll then have a PERMANENT tent city indoors, with all the same shit going on every day and night!
  • A question I have been asked many times since I began covering the humanitarian crisis in Yemen; who is taking care of the war orphans in Yemen? It appears the world has forgotten them, perhaps because they are not considered refugee orphans, nobody is paying attention to the gross crimes against these little ones - committed at the hands of an invading regime - Saudi Arabia.. children isleep nside a pitt in the ground, it is now normal for adults to put children to sleep in a large hole to ptotect child from snipers andcluster bombs that spray shrapnel Yemen.
  • UNICEF estimates nearly 400 children have been killed and over 600 injured in the past four months in the country, the poorest in the Middle East. 13 Yemeni teaching staff and four children were killed by a Saudi air strike on August 20. Two days before, coalition bombing in the Amran province took the lives of 17 civilians, injuring 20 more. UNICEF condemned what it called the “senseless bloodshed.” A Red Cross spokeswoman said the violence in Ta’iz, in southern Yemen, in just one day on August 21 left 80 people dead.

Click Picture for a Popular Cartoon

  • Donald Trump will save the day
  • Caption this winner sept 1
  • Donald Trump for President of the (Mexican free and NOW Muslim free) United Sates of America. (AlistairReignBlog.com),
  • Where's Steve - Satire Cartoon
  • Sesame Street - Grouch Apprentice with Donald Grump
  • Nicki 'Minnie' Minaj
  • Way-Back Machine: Who Owned It Best? Come on in and pick out your favorite Dracula cape! Who flaunted the full-length cape better than the rest?
  • What if Donald Trump is elected President of the United States?
  • Take Our Poll: Come on in and tell us who haunted your nightmares! Which vampire had the most ferocious fangs?