Children Starve as US-Backed Coalition Violates Human Rights in Yemen

2016.1.7.Yemen.MainA camp of displaced Yemenis in the town of Khamer, Yemen, October 24, 2016. Yemen is mired in conflict, with rebels holding the capital and Saudi Arabia and the US bombing them. Fighting has displaced millions of people, and hunger, malnutrition and diseases like cholera have spread. (Photo: Tyler Hicks / The New York Times)

In December 2016, Saudi Arabia admitted that cluster bombs used in its campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen were manufactured by the UK. The UK is a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, an international treaty adopted in 2008 prohibiting the development, use, stockpiling or transfer of all cluster munitions, due to evidence that the weapons disproportionately “kill or maim civilians.” On October 26, 2016, a Labor Party call for the UK to cut support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen was rejected. As reported in The Guardian, the demand for withdrawal of support was defeated by 283 to 193, “suggesting that scores of Labor MPs did not vote,” likely due to feared backlash from unions with strong ties to the defense industry. Following the Saudis’ admission to using the UK-made bombs, Prime Minister Theresa May is being pressured by the Labor Party’s Jeremy Corbyn as to why the UK did not admit to supplying the coalition with cluster bombs earlier. The coalition has been accused of committing genocide against the Yemeni people. As mass starvation and deaths increase in Yemen, the US and UK, two of the Saudi-led coalition’s primary backers, ought to cease violations of international law and halt support for the coalition.

The Yemeni civil war has been deemed the “forgotten war,” overshadowed in Western media by the Syrian crisis. The situation on the ground is bleak — the death toll has exceeded 10,000 people since the war’s outbreak in 2015. UNICEF estimates that 2.2 million children require urgent humanitarian assistance to prevent potentially fatal malnutrition, and a cholera outbreak has worsened the health crisis in the country….

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