Speaking ahead of tonight’s Channel 4 Dispatches: Britain’s Hidden War, Karol Balfe, who leads on Christian Aid’s global peacebuilding programme, said:
“The UK’s complicity in the war in Yemen is unacceptable. It is unthinkable that at the same time as providing assistance to UN agencies working in the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis, arms sales from the UK to Saudi Arabia – which are fuelling the Yemen conflict – have increased by two thirds since 2016 and now account for nearly half of Britain’s major arms exports. No other arms exporter comes close to this dependence on the Gulf market.
“Our aid is making a huge difference in this crisis, but these efforts are being undermined by our much larger investment in arms. It is shameful that the UK government is effectively putting its own perceived national security and domestic interests ahead of human security and protecting the civilians living through this catastrophic conflict.
“Channel 4’s Dispatches
will shine a light on the UK’s immoral policy of arms exports to repressive regimes. We would urge the UK to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, since it has been shown time and again that their military operations in Yemen are violating international law by attacking civilians and essential civilian infrastructure, including medical facilities.
“It is time for us to put our money where our mouth is and take a lead in making peace not war, by supporting local peace actors, especially women, to participate fully in peace efforts, and by ending support for the Saudi-led coalition and upholding our own commitments to the Arms Trade Treaty and international humanitarian law.”
For more information, read Christian Aid’s 2018 report: Resourcing War and Peace.