Yemen is being faced with the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, which has caused millions of civilians to face starvation, including men, women, children and the elderly as well. Over 600,000 people in the country have suffered from cholera and even around 2,000 have died from the disease. Nearly 2 million have been internally displaced and 14.4 million are unable to get safe drinking water or sanitation, according to Oxfam and BBC. It is reported by the UN that more than 60% of Yemenis died because of the air strikes conducted by a Saudi-led multinational coalition associated with the President.
As BBC puts it, the disaster resulted from a war between the groups of people who support President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s government, and those who are loyal to the Houthi rebel movement. Such conflict began with the unsuccessful political transition from the longtime authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Hadi, in the year of 2011, which was expected to bring stability to Yemen. In the following period, Hadi showed certain weaknesses in his governance and continued to struggle with corruption, unemployment, as well as food insecurity. As a result, the Houthi movement took advantage of all these problems and succeeded in controlling part of the Saada province and neighbouring areas as well.
Subsequently, a Saudi-led multinational coalition was formed and intervened in the situation, which gained a great amount of weapons from the United Kingdom. It has been estimated by the children’s charity War Child that, during this time, UK companies dealing with weapons, including BAE Systems and Raytheon, have earned over 8 billion dollars, as well as generated profits of about 775 million dollars.
As can be seen, the consequences of the UK weapons firms involved in the Yemen war are totally different from those of the citizens staying in this country. While the latter has been threatened by the crisis and disaster, the former have successfully got access to enormous profits and benefits. The War Child report condemned the arms trade by saying that, the transactions directly counteract “much of the benefits Yemeni children and other civilians might expect to receive from the provision of aid, undermining the Department for International Development’s policy of getting value for money from the aid it commits.”
Even so, such humanitarian concern failed to stop the arms sales when it was raised by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in July. In light with Al Jazeera, the High Court argued that “there had been extensive political and military engagement with Saudi Arabia regarding the conduct of operations in Yemen and the Saudis had sought positively to address concerns about international humanitarian law.” Although it is a single case regarding the humanitarian theme which may be constrained by the domestic law of a certain nation, when it comes to lives and living standards of millions of people, it should be taken into consideration more carefully and more scrupulously.
Concerning the aforementioned, international and non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF and Oxfam call for actual actions in Yemen for life-saving aid to children and families. In addition, the latter also advises UK citizens to demand the end of the deadly arms trading for political, economic and military purposes.
To conclude, the crisis is destructive and devastating. All sides, including the UK government, as well as groups and alliances entering the Yemen war, are supposed to shoulder the responsibility for stopping damage and destruction and take care of the lives and living environment of the Yemenis as well. Furthermore, individuals, such as those from the United Kingdom, should also take measures to ask for peace and progress in the country of Yemen.