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World News => Discuss Latest World News => Topic started by: عوني on June 18, 2016, 12:50:16 PM

Title: Saudi Arabia has been given a free pass to bomb schools and hospitals in Yemen
Post by: عوني on June 18, 2016, 12:50:16 PM
"On Thursday last week, the UN secretary general listed Saudi Arabia responsible for killing children, bombing hospitals and schools.

This places Saudi Arabia and the coalition it leads in the dubious company of Isis, the Taliban, al-Shabaab and the Lord?s Resistance Army in the blacklist of organisations violating children?s rights in a conflict area.

By Monday, Saudi Arabia had been removed them from the list, erasing much of the UN?s credibility when it comes to defending human rights.

This sudden turnaround is hard to justify. The evidence that the Saudi-led coalition is bombing civilian areas in towns and cities in north Yemen is compelling.

The UN rapporteurs had found that the coalition was directly responsible for 60% of child casualties from the fighting last year, including the deaths of 510 children from bombing campaigns. They authenticated 49 bombings of schools and hospitals by Saudi Arabia in Yemen in 2015.

However, despite the evidence, the Saudis appear to have been given a free pass. Unlike the usual suspects who feature on the secretary general?s annual report on children affected by armed conflict (pdf), the Saudis have powerful friends including the UK and the US ? both permanent members of the security council.

They also have other points of influence at the UN based on their funding of key UN agencies, including Unicef (pdf) ? the body responsible for promoting the adoption of the UN convention of the rights of the child.

The role of the UK in supporting the coalition is particularly troubling. Over ?7bn of British weapons have been sold to Saudi Arabia since 2010. The listing of the Saudi coalition in the UN report would have made it extremely difficult for the UK to continue to resist calls for an arms embargo.

In the face of all this pressure, the secretary general appears to have blinked first, betraying the most vulnerable people on the planet ? the children whom this process is designed to protect.

The official UN position is that the listing was removed pending an investigation. I?m concerned this investigation could become a smokescreen to cover a retreating UN office, rather than a genuine attempt to hold Saudi Arabia to account.

The UN appears to be acting as a club for the rich and powerful, pointing the finger at rebel groups and obscure militia but covering up for the violations committed by its member states.

For War Child, which works so hard to keep children safe in the most dangerous circumstances, it is further evidence that we cannot rely on the UN to do the right thing and stand with those most at risk.

Whether the coalition is blacklisted or not, the facts are plain. Saudi bombing is killing hundreds of children and destroying the schools and hospitals on which children rely. This bombing must stop and other avenues explored to bring peace to Yemen.

The role of the UK in supporting this military campaign should also be curtailed immediately. The British government claims its advisers are working with the Saudi airforce to make sure that civilian casualties are avoided. The evidence shows that this strategy is clearly not working.

It is time for the UK to withdraw its support from this coalition, to ban sales of arms to Saudi Arabia, and to stand up for the international humanitarian laws it has committed itself to."