Care2 Members Urge Theresa May to Stop Selling Weapons to Saudi Arabia

U.K. activists are asking their government to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, a country accused of violating human rights. The U.K. has sold billions of pounds worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, which have helped kill thousands of people in Yemen.

On March 15, a group of activists, including former actress Bianca Jagger and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, delivered a Care2 petition with 160,000 signatures to Theresa May, asking her to stop the arms sales to Saudi Arabia and help free the blogger Raif Badawi, a Saudi writer and activist.

“We are calling on the UK government to cease its support for a Saudi Arabian regime that has jailed the blogger Raif Badawi and is committing war crimes in Yemen, with its indiscriminate bombing of civilians – aided by UK-supplied weapon systems,” reads the Care2 petition authored by Peter Tatchell.

Badawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012 on a charge of “insulting Islam through electronic channels” and was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail. His wife and children have fled to Canada, after having their lives threatened.

As Tatchell points out in his petition, “there is no sign that this sadistic cruelty is disturbing the close and decades-long friendship between London and Riyadh.”

Saudi Arabia Is U.K.’s Largest Arms Export Market

Saudi Arabia has been by far the largest buyer of U.K. arms for decades, and continues to be the country’s largest arms export market. 

fighter-jets

Photo Credit: thinkstock

According to The Independent, “The UK has licenced more than £3.3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since it began bombing Yemen in March 2015, including licenced fighter jets, bombs and missiles, which have been used in Saudi’s ongoing bombardment of the country.”

With the help of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, more than 10,000 people have died in Yemen since 2015, when the conflict there descended into full-scale civil war, according to the United Nations. In addition, the fighting has increased both hunger and disease in the Middle East’s poorest country.

Here’s how the UN sees it:

“The Yemeni people were the poorest in the Arab world before the war. Now, according to UNICEF, a Yemeni child dies every 10 minutes from severe malnutrition and other problems linked to the war and the Saudi blockade of the north. Many others are stunted for life by malnutrition.”

Yet the U.K. government apparently sees no problem with maintaining its friendship with Saudi Arabia, presumably because the income from those arms exports makes lawmakers turn a blind eye to the egregious human rights violations being committed.

The U.S. is also complicit in enabling the Saudis to create one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Care2 Petition Reflects Groundswell Of Opinion Against British Government

Outraged by this, Peter Tatchell decided to create a Care2 petition, and as he told Care2:

“[The] vast number of signatures reflects a groundswell of opinion against Britain’s collusion with a Saudi regime that is committing war crimes in Yemen and imprisoning dissidents like Raif Badawi. We urge Theresa May to end UK arms sales to the regime and to publicly call for the release of Raif and all political prisoners.”

Care2 activists deliver petition to UK parliament.

Joining Tatchell for the Care2 petition delivery were Bianca Jagger, President and CEO of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Claire Brand from Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), and  Jenny Jones, a Green Party member of the House of Lords, along with representatives of Care2. 

In addition to over 160,000 signatures on the petition, 50,000 people from the UK have emailed the Prime Minister via Care2 to urge her to take action. 

Take Action!

Thank you to all the Care2 activists who have supported this important petition, which is still open for signatures.

If you see an opportunity to make a difference in your community, or anywhere in the world, consider creating a Care2 petition. You can start by checking out these guidelines, and pretty soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: Care2

78 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J11 months ago

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John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

Ty

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

Ty

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

Ty

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

Ty

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KimJ M
KimJ M12 months ago

Ty

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Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

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