Britain’s Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has denounced the use of UK-made weapons in Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen, calling on the government to block further arm sales to the kingdom.
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Saturday, Corbyn said his opposition party had previously called on the government to suspend its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and would continue to do so in the next.
“We have constantly condemned the use of these weapons by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and called for the suspension of the arms sales to Saudi Arabia to show that we are wanting a peace process in Yemen, not an invasion by Saudi Arabia,” he told the news network..
“And arms sales policy has to reflect that we do not believe those countries that commit abuses of human rights or kill civilians with the use of those weapons should continue to receive British arms,” he added.
Corbyn said his fellow lawmakers “have already put that resolution to parliament in the last parliament.”
“We’ll continue to do that when there’s a new parliament formed after this general election. Our policy of the Labour Party is unchanged,” he added.
Since Saudi Arabia launched its brutal campaign against Yemen in March 2015, the UK government has approved arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia worth $4.1 billion, according to London-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade.
Riyadh launched the aggression against Yemen in an attempt to crush the popular Houthi movement and reinstall the former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh. The war has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis and wounded thousands more, according to the latest tallies.
Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes and subsequent blockade has also created a humanitarian disaster in Yemen. Cholera is on the rise while almost 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition. Since April, more than 1,300 Yemenis have died of cholera.
Corbyn told Al Jazeera that he was “totally shocked by the war in Yemen.”
“Totally shocked, by the bombardment that’s taken place, by the killings that have happened, by the cholera outbreak that’s now rife. And the numbers who are affected, the numbers who have already died,” he added.
Last week a rights group also called on the UK government to end arms sales to Riyadh and its allies.
The Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR) called on “the UK government to review its role in the sale of arms to a number of Arab governments that are known for gross human rights violation.”
“A Saudi-led coalition has killed hundreds of Yemenis, destroyed scores of homes in addition to obliterating most of Yemen’s core infrastructure,” the rights group said.
Despite the calls for a halt on the arms sales to Riyadh, the UK government continues to provide the kingdom with weapons.