Emily Thornberry: Tories 'abdicating responsibility' on Yemen
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Labour's shadow Foreign Secretary has called for the Tories to stop supporting the Saudi government's war in Yemen, after a Saudi airstrike reportedly killed dozens of children on a school field trip in the northern town of Dahyan.
The Red Cross said that a hospital it supports in the province of Saada had received 29 bodies of "mainly children" younger than 15, and 40 injured, including 30 children.
"They've been receiving wounded and dead since the morning" said Red Cross spokesperson, Mirella Hodeib. "Putting children in harm's way is horrific and deplorable and making them pay such a price is unacceptable," she continued.
In response to the news, Labour's Emily Thornberry slammed the government over their handling of the crisis in Yemen.
“It is five months to the day since the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia left London with the fawning praise of Theresa May ringing in his ears, and a renewed commitment from her government to supply the arms to support his disastrous military intervention in Yemen." she said.
“In those five months, while all sides in this conflict have continued to behave with a wilful disregard for human life, it is the Saudi-led coalition that has inflicted the bulk of civilian casualties, as a result of its air strikes, its ground offensives, and its ongoing restriction of access for food, fuel, medicine, clean water and other essential humanitarian aid."
“And today, we have seen one of the worst atrocities of this war to date, with dozens reported killed and injured by Saudi air strikes on the town of Dahyan, the majority of them young children travelling on a bus, adding to the thousands of civilians already killed in this war as a result of Saudi attacks on civilian targets."
“How much longer is this Tory government going to abdicate its responsibility as pen-holder on Yemen at the UN Security Council without bringing forward a new resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire on all sides, an independent investigation of all war crimes, and forcing all sides to the negotiating table?"
“Above all, how many more children in Yemen need to be killed by Saudi air strikes or die from malnutrition, cholera or other diseases before Theresa May will stop supporting this catastrophic, murderous war, and start taking action to end it?”
Yemen has been in a state of civil war from 2015, with a coalition of gulf states, headed by Saudi Arabia intervening in March of that year.
Casualty figures are next to impossible to verify due to a virtual news blackout from the war-torn state, but the United Nations has warned that near 22 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance due to a blockade of food and medical supplies organised by coalition forces.
The UK government is a military ally of Saudi Arabia, and has provided £4.6bn of arms sales to Riyadh since the war began according to The Campaign Against Arms Trade.
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