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Britain is facilitating the slaughter in Yemen. Where is our outrage?

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Nothing can diminish the threat of a disorderly Brexit, or the significance of Boris Johnson’s recent anti-democratic prorogation of parliament. That those stories lead the news is no surprise. But when our government provides crucial support to a campaign of indiscriminate killing in Yemen that has claimed the lives of thousands of people, and this is treated as a footnote in our politics rather than a national scandal, it is plain that something has gone badly wrong.

This week a report by UN experts warned that Britain could be complicit in war crimes through its arming of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervening in Yemen’s civil conflict. The report is the latest in a long line from the UN and the world’s most respected NGOs documenting a consistent pattern of violations. The experts note that leading arms providers like the UK “have a specific influence” on the belligerents “and may be held responsible for providing aid or assistance for the commission of international law violations”.

About 100,000 people have met violent deaths since March 2015, and the blockade imposed by the Saudi-UAE coalition is the primary cause of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, pushing millions to the brink of famine. Save the Children estimates that 85,000 infants have died from starvation or preventable disease. The UN experts raise the real possibility that starvation is being employed as a war tactic. British complicity in that ought to be unthinkable.


© The Guardian