Alyn Smith "shocked" by Boris Johnson denial of crimes in Yemen

The SNP Member of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee condemned allegations, made by the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, that there was no proof the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen was in “clear breach” of international humanitarian law.

Following many letters and speeches, Alyn Smith managed to win a clear majority of the European Parliament on a call, made last February, for an EU-wide embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, precisely because of the evident breach of international humanitarian law.

"I am shocked to read UK Foreign Secretary made such statements despite the mountain of evidence at hand. Saudi airstrikes have destroyed schools, hospitals, water cisterns, world heritage sites, even weddings and refugee camps. I have seen evidence of UK weapons systems and missiles used to target non-military, purely civilian targets in Yemen this year and the last, thanks to the works of CAAT the Coalition Against Armed Trade, Saferworld UK but also Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.”

Commenting on the UK Foreign Secretary’s comments, Alyn said:

"Instead of denying the obvious, the UK should listen to civil society and follow Sweden's highly acclaimed decision to suspend its arms trade with Saudi Arabia as long as basic human rights are not respected on the other end. I have myself grown up in Saudi Arabia and I am aware of how divided the Saudis are on a war they are the first ones to denounce as being extremely destructive.

"Again, the EU position on arms sales is clear: Member States amongst which the UK and France should immediately suspend arms licences because the Saudis are clearly violating international humanitarian law, in other words civilians are being bombed indiscriminately.”

"Again, the EU position on arms sales is clear: Member States amongst which the UK and France should immediately suspend arms licences because the Saudis are clearly violating international humanitarian law, in other words civilians are being bombed indiscriminately.”

 

For more information:

The European Parliament's resolution on Yemen of February 2016, establishing clear breaches of humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi rebels in Yemen

Alyn's letter to the EU High Representative

Alyn's speech to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, on UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, is here: