(AFP) – The UK government is responsible for the many children who have been killed and injured as a result of Saudi Arabia’s deadly war on Yemen, the Labour Party has said.
In a fiery critique of the Conservative government, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn grilled Prime Minister Theresa May during the latest Prime Minister’s Question (PMQ) at the House of Commons on Wednesday, saying her administration was “colluding” in war crimes against the people of Yemen.
The stark criticism coincided with the arrival of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for a three-day trip that experts say is aimed at boosting military ties between London and Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall its former Riyadh-allied government. The military aggression has so far killed over 13,600 Yemenis.
Leading the war is bin Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia’s defense minister. The Saudi military has enjoyed strong logistic and intelligence support by the US and the UK over the course of the deadly war.
“This Government is responsible for the decisions that are being taken to support this military campaign and support this aerial bombing campaign of Yemen, and has directed British military personnel to take part in advising the targeting of aerial operations in Yemen,” Corbyn’s spokesman said after the debate.
“The consequence of that has been significant and extensive of targeting of civilian infrastructure and very large numbers of civilian casualties, including very large numbers of children,” he added.
Over 5,000 children have been killed by Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen since it began in March 2015, according to a report by the UN children’s agency UNICEF that was published in January.
The report added that at least two million Yemeni children were out of school, and that 400,000 were facing malnourishment.
Although May noted during the PMQ that she would raise humanitarian concerns about Yemen in his meeting with bin Salman, she underlined her government’s support for the Saudi-led war.