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Exploitation in Yemen

November 2015

International charity Oxfam has launched a petition calling on the UK government to do more to help bring much needed relief to the people of conflict-ridden Yemen. The petition, which aims to garner 40,000 signatures, already has nearly 38,000 at the time of writing.

According to the accompanying statement from Oxfam, the UK government has not done enough to bring aid to the people affected by the conflict. It said, ‘Before the current conflict, Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East. More than 10 million people were going hungry, including one million acutely malnourished children. The number of people struggling to find enough to eat has increased by nearly three million in only five months.

‘Violence has damaged homes, schools and even hospitals. So far, over 4,500 people have lost their lives and over 1.4 million people have been displaced’.

Oxfam warned that food, medicines and diesel, which is needed to pump clean water, are in critically short supply and prices have sky-rocketed, putting basic necessities out of reach for ordinary families.

Also, at a time when people desperately need them, vital supplies are restricted from entering the country. This could prove disastrous, since Yemen relies on imports for 80 per cent of its food.

Worse, according to Oxfam: ‘British supplied arms are fuelling this war. Despite signing a treaty agreeing that “arms shouldn’t be transferred if there’s a significant risk they will be used to breach the laws of war”, the UK continues to supply weapons. The conflict must stop’.

The petition urges the UK government to do all it can, including pushing for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, ensuring access to essential supplies by re-opening air and sea routes, and ensuring that, in line with the Arms Trade Treaty, the UK does not send arms and military support to any side in the conflict.