Judging Against Our Lives
Written by Radhya Almutawakel, a Yemen-based human rights defender and co-founder of Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, Control Arms member
For nearly two and half years now, civilians in Yemen have been subjected to a near-daily barrage of bombing. Our schools, hospitals, homes and markets have been targets. Even weddings and funerals have been deliberately bombed. As a Yemeni, I have seen this with my own eyes. I have watched my country descend into flames, and have despaired as we now move closer and closer to famine. The devastation of crucial water supplies has led to a cholera outbreak – a disease long eradicated from our country. The destruction of medical infrastructure has left us with close to nothing to stop this deadly disease.
What we desperately need from the international community is humanitarian assistance, support for a peace process, and a push for accountability. Instead, we get more and more bombs.
On Monday, 10 July, the UK High Court issued a ruling in support of the British Government, and against NGO Campaign Against Arms Trade, which had mounted a legal challenge to try to stop the arms supplies to Saudi Arabia. In an utterly mystifying ruling, the High Court determined that the UK government is within its rights to decide, without challenge, whether to allow these arms supplies to continue.
Our lives seemed not to factor into this ruling.
Bombs keep falling on our homes and hospitals. Our daily suffering will continue unimpeded if governments, like the UK, keep providing arms is support to the Saudi-led coalition. For years governments have resisted independent international inquiry into the conflict. This must change, as soon as possible.
CAAT have told us they plan to appeal against the ruling. We welcome this, and the efforts of all NGOs who continue to campaign against the supply of bombs and other weapons used against innocent Yemeni civilians. Their humanity is some comfort to us. Please join them in asking all governments to stop the supply of deadly weapons to all warring parties in Yemen – our very lives depend on it.