By Joyce Rothermel
The conflict in Yemen, now in its fourth year, continues to bring horrific suffering to its civilian population. Millions are at risk of famine, with nearly 17,000 civilians killed or injured since the beginning of the war there. Last year, the air forces coalition of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have bombed residential areas and civilian infrastructure throughout the country. In addition, Yemen’s Huthi armed group has conducted reckless ground attacks, shelling urban centers and villages. The U.S., the United Kingdom (UK), France, Italy and others continue to send billions of dollars of sophisticated military equipment in support of the coalition forces.
These war crimes and human rights violations cannot be tolerated. Responding to cries from Amnesty International, civil society organizations, and journalists, countries including Greece, Norway, Germany and Denmark have begun cutting off arms supplies to Saudi Arabia. The U.S. and the UK, however, have continued supplying equipment and providing vital technical and logistical assistance to the Royal Saudi Air Force.
Amnesty International and other organizations have documented remnants of munitions found in the rubble in the aftermath of the air strikes, identifying U.S. manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as suppliers. Boeing, General Electric and Rolls-Royce are also supplying aircraft engines and munitions. Groups worldwide are intensifying the pressure on arms-supplying governments. Here in the U.S., advocates are working to pressure Congress to suspend weapon sales to Saudi Arabia, prohibit our government from refueling the Saudi Coalition engaging in the war in Yemen, and hold all players responsible for war crimes accountable. Opposition to continued arms sales has been growing since the extrajudicial execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.
The Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2019 has been introduced in the Senate (S. 398) and one will soon be introduced in the House. It calls for the peaceful resolution of the civil war in Yemen, addresses the humanitarian crisis, and the accountability of the perpetrators responsible for murdering Saudi dissidents. Please contact your U.S. Senators today asking their urgent support of this critical bill.
(Information for this article comes from Amnesty Insider, Spring 2019.)
Joyce Rothermel is a long time member of Amnesty International.