Friday 10 February 2017 / 5:58 PM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Government must show caution and concern about the way the Saudi campaign is being conducted – Thornberry

Emily Thornberry, Shadow Foreign
Secretary, responding to today’s revelations regarding arms exports to
Saudi Arabia, said:

“We have discovered today that, even after the bombing of the
funeral hall in Sana’a and the concerns of Liam Fox’s department about the risk
that British weapons were being used in breach of International Humanitarian
Law, Boris Johnson gave his personal reassurance that the Saudi-led coalition
was improving its targeting processes and ensuring that any incidents where
non-military targets had been bombed were being properly investigated.

"According to the independent
Yemen Data Project, in the 55 days between Boris Johnson writing his letter and
the end of 2016, Saudi forces bombed 60 residential sites in Yemen, including
houses, markets and refugee camps. At this time of heightening humanitarian
crisis, they bombed 46 sites of economic infrastructure, including farms, water
tanks and food trucks, and 48 sites of physical infrastructure, including
roads, bridges and ports. They also managed to bomb three schools and a
university. Not a single one of these 160 incidents has yet been investigated
by the Saudi authorities. If this is what Boris Johnson calls the Saudis
‘improving processes and…taking action to address failures’, then I would
sorely hate to see the opposite.

"It should not be left to the
courts to rule whether the export licences for these arms sales should have
been granted. It should be for this Government to show some long-overdue
caution and concern about the way the Saudi campaign is being conducted, the
devastating humanitarian crisis that campaign is helping to cause, and the
blatant failure to ensure any proper, independent investigation of these
alleged crimes against international law.”