Thursday 9 August 2018 / 3:26 PM Emily Thornberry / Foreign Policy

Emily Thornberry responds to airstrike in Yemen

Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, responding to the latest airstrike in Yemen that has killed dozens of civilians, said:

“It is five months to the day since the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia left London with the fawning praise of Theresa May ringing in his ears, and a renewed commitment from her government to supply the arms to support his disastrous military intervention in Yemen.

“In those five months, while all sides in this conflict have continued to behave with a wilful disregard for human life, it is the Saudi-led coalition that has inflicted the bulk of civilian casualties, as a result of its air strikes, its ground offensives, and its ongoing restriction of access for food, fuel, medicine, clean water and other essential humanitarian aid.

“And today, we have seen one of the worst atrocities of this war to date, with dozens reported killed and injured by Saudi air strikes on the town of Dahyan, the majority of them young children travelling on a bus, adding to the thousands of civilians already killed in this war as a result of Saudi attacks on civilian targets.

“While we will mourn the death of those civilians today, especially those children robbed of lives that had barely begun, we owe it to them to ask the question: how much longer are we going to let this go on?

“How much longer is this Tory government going to continue arming and advising a Saudi air force that cannot tell or does not see the difference between a legitimate military target and a bus full of children, a family wedding, or a civilian food market?

“How much longer is this Tory government going to continue claiming that the Saudis should be left to investigate themselves when these atrocities take place, even though the Saudis have already absolved themselves of any blame for the Dahyan attack, within hours of it happening, saying it was a legitimate target?

“How much longer is this Tory government going to abdicate its responsibility as pen-holder on Yemen at the UN Security Council without bringing forward a new resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire on all sides, an independent investigation of all war crimes, and forcing all sides to the negotiating table?

“Above all, how many more children in Yemen need to be killed by Saudi air strikes or die from malnutrition, cholera or other diseases before Theresa May will stop supporting this catastrophic, murderous war, and start taking action to end it?”