‘My embarrassing and disgust is that despite these war crimes many countries and their merchants of war have continued to sell and transfer weapons to Saudi Arabia and its coalition members for use in the conflict. ‘
ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – ON YEMENS FORGOTTEN WAR?
Are you aware that the world has turned its back over the past year on a growing humanitarian crisis?
Are you aware that on 25 March 2015, an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Huthi armed group in Yemen sparking a full-blown armed conflict.
And over the following year, the conflict has spread and fighting has engulfed the entire country.
As is the result of such tragedies there are horrific human rights abuses, as well as war crimes, being committed throughout the country and the victims and collateral damage of such heinous crimes are again suffering civilians.
I am advised that the strategy of this illegal war is by two fronts namely – relentless bombardment by coalition forces from the air, and a battle being fought on the ground between rival factions.
And who are the players here?
We have the Huthis on one side, an armed group whose members belong to a branch of Shi’a Islam known as Zayidism.
They are aligned with supporters of Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
And of course, the opponents are the anti-Huthi forces that are allied with the current President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Saudi Arabian-led coalition.
And in the middle caught between these warring factions innocent, helpless, exposed, vulnerable civilians and noncombatants!
As I write this piece with information from friends and international NGOs like Amnesty International another aerial bombing has taken place killing children and civilians in a hospital!
It is sheer hypocrisy and religious apartheid that the worlds puritans and selective breeders of foreign affairs deliberations have remained in comatose as thousands of civilians are trapped in the middle – thousands killed and injured and a humanitarian crisis has spiraled.
Are you aware – that over a year stakeholders of the world has ignored this raging conflict and heard little about its devastating consequences.
Is it because there is no oil here?
Is it because Yemen is an extremely poor country?
Is it because we have vested interests and politicians sucking up and kissing the asses of Saudi Arabia’s bourgeoisie for various strategic interests of certain pariah nations saying something but practicing another?
War is one thing but when various invading forces impose a partial aerial and naval blockade on areas under Huthi control to cut off supplies, it is creating a situation of genocide by severely limiting the import and provision of fuel and other essentials, obstructing access to food, water, humanitarian assistance and medical supplies and causing food prices to soar, creating a desperate situation for millions of people.
That is not all as there is widespread damage and destruction to key logistical infrastructure, including bridges, airports and seaports, has also severely hampered the movement of crucial humanitarian supplies.
I am not partial to any group here and I acknowledge receiving information and data that even the Huthi armed group and allied forces have endangered the lives of thousands of civilians in the southern city of Ta’iz by blocking the entry of crucial medical supplies and food in recent months.
And the result is the same we have seen in all conflict territories throughout the world!
With no medical supplies, no resources – hospitals just shut down creating a platform where civilians and others face death!
Those that still are open – very vulnerable due to a lack of supplies.
Like events in all conflict territories – there are growing human rights abuses by all sides!
I am advised that dedicated and committed friends at Amnesty International have gathered evidence revealing that all the parties to this conflict have committed violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
For the record, there is comprehensive data of more than 30 air strikes across six different governorates (Sana’a, Sa’da, Hajjah, Hodeidah, Ta’iz and Lahj) by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that appear to have violated international humanitarian law – the rules that apply during a conflict which are sometimes known as the “laws of war” – resulting in 366 civilian deaths (more than half of whom were women and children) and 272 civilian injuries.
I must reiterate here as an attorney and expert in International law – that these included attacks that appear to have deliberately targeted civilians and civilian objects such as hospitals, schools, markets and mosques, which may amount to war crimes.
My embarrassing and disgust is that despite these war crimes many countries and their merchants of war have continued to sell and transfer weapons to Saudi Arabia and its coalition members for use in the conflict.
And yes, these arms have also been diverted into the hands of Huthi and other armed groups fighting in Yemen.
Now who are these shenanigans behind the war trade?
Prominent are the industry players from the UK, USA, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain!
A reported licenses and sales to Saudi Arabia worth more than $25bn in 2015 including drones, bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles.
The again hypocrisy and irony is these states are parties to the Arms Trade Treaty which has the aim of “reducing human suffering” and which makes it unlawful to transfer weapons where there is a high risk they could be used to commit serious violations of international law.
From this part of the emerging world voices, I lend my voice to Amnesty International who is appealing to all states to ensure that no party to the conflict in Yemen is supplied – either directly or indirectly – with weapons, munitions, military equipment or technology that could be used in the conflict until they end such serious violations.
This also applies to logistical and financial support for such transfers.
I appeal to the decision makers and stakeholders of conscience if there are any left in these jurisdictions of UK, USA, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, please intervene to stop the unraveling tragedy!
And to other governments and political pretenders without backbone or spine whose governments always are racially and religiously selective in addressing war crimes and carnage in line with the silos based religious interpretations and political interest, please do get off your backsides and lend your voice to end yet another international tragedy without fear of favor!