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London conference aims to counter apathy to war on Yemen

War-ruined buildings in the Al-Ora’s neighbourhood of Zinjibar, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/A.Al-Sharif
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War-ruined buildings in the Al-Ora’s neighbourhood of Zinjibar, Yemen. Photo: UNHCR/A.Al-Sharif

A coalition of non-government organisations active in Yemen and outside the embattled country will meet in London 20-21 August 2016 to counter a lack of international diplomatic and news media response to the continuing deaths and displacement of innocent civilians in the conflict in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab and non-Arab forces in a military operation it argues is a response to military operations that Riyadh sees as inimical to its strategic interests in the Arabian peninsula. Western responses to the Saudi-led operations have been mute so far, driven, as the critics say, by commercial and military industry interests. Human Rights Watch is the latest major campaign organisation to publish evidence that contradicts claims the coalition is targeting only military targets. An HRW report citing attacks on Yemen’s civilian infrastructures, including civilian businesses, is here.

“As the war on Yemen lingers on under one of the most comprehensive media blackouts, human conscience is troubling many around the world who are awaiting serious calls for an immediate ceasefire,” the organisers of the international conference in support of the Yemen war victims said.

It said the gathering aims to  bring to the attention of the world leaders “as well as those aspiring for justice and accountability” the plight of Yemen’s population.

The two-day conference is sponsored by human rights and political activists from several countries.

“It will shed light on the conflict, the legality of the ongoing war, the history of Saudi policy of domination and its effect on the social and religious fabrics of Yemeni society as well as the terrible human consequences of the war and the need for international will to put an end to it,” the organisers said.

The latest airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition on a Yemeni hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières killed at least 11 people, news media reported.

Analysts cited by The Guardian newspaper said that, after so much destruction and thousands of deaths and injuries among the innocent, the Saudis’ principal aim – to restore Yemen’s deposed president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi – has not been achieved. If they hoped to contain spreading Iranian regional influence, that has not worked, either, the newspaper said. “If the US-backed coalition’s campaign was intended to combat terrorism, that too has flopped. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in particular, and Islamic State (Isis) have profited from the continuing anarchy.”

UN figures show the military intervention has claimed more than 6,400 lives, left more than 30,000 wounded and displaced 2.5 million. Eighty per cent of Yemeni population or about 20 million people are seen by most estimates to be destitute or displaced requiring various levels of urgent assistance.

Author: Editor

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