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19 Dec, 2017 20:29

350+ academics, politicians and celebrities slam west for enabling Saudi war against Yemen

350+ academics, politicians and celebrities slam west for enabling Saudi war against Yemen

Six Nobel peace prize laureates have joined more than 350 celebrities, public servants and academics in criticizing western leaders for “stoking the flames of war” in Yemen.

In a statement marking the 1,000th day of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, signatories of the #Yemencantwait petition called on the leaders of the US, France and the UK to urgently broker a ceasefire and put an end to the blockades which are preventing food and vital medical supplies from reaching desperate civilians. The statement further warned the West’s inaction will lead to the deaths of thousands of Yemeni children.

The international community has failed to take the action needed to end this man-made catastrophe. Millions of Yemeni women, men and children feel abandoned by global leaders who seem to put profit and politics above human lives,” the strongly worded statement reads. “The US, UK, and France, as permanent members of the UN Security Council and major weapons suppliers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, bear a special responsibility to use the full extent of their leverage to press their partners in the region to end the crisis. Instead of stoking the flames of a war that is strangling an entire population and risks destabilizing the entire region... They could be the brokers of peace.”

Signatories include, Justice Richard J. Goldstone, First Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia; Olivier De Schutter, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food; Mark Malloch-Brown, Former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General; Peter Gabriel, musician and founder of The Elders; Alyssa Milano, actor, activist and entrepreneur; and Tawakkol Karman, journalist and 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate.

The UK has been particularly unapologetic about the steady stream of weapons London supplies to Riyadh. In October, then defense secretary Michael Fallon infamously urged MPs to stop criticizing the Saudi-led war, arguing that probing the kingdom's crimes in Yemen could be bad for UK arms sales.

However, Western culpability in the deadly conflict has raised the ire of numerous human rights campaigners and activists. Last week, the UK-based campaign group Human Rights for Yemen called on Britain’s Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, to prosecute Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar for committing war crimes in Yemen and for instigating the “world’s worst humanitarian disaster,” killing 130 children each day.

The Saudi-led coalition has been waging a military campaign against Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to reinstate ousted Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Since the start of the war, the coalition has been accused of war crimes.

In the latest episode which adds credence to that claim, coalition warplanes bombed a wedding Sunday, about 170 km from Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. At least 10 women were killed in the airstrike.

And in a what has been described as a “new chapter” in the conflict, Houthi rebels struck back at Saudi Arabia Tuesday, targeting the Al-Yamama Palace in Riyadh with a ballistic missile. The Saudi-led coalition says it successfully intercepted the weapon and carried out retaliatory airstrikes against Houthi positions.