Responding to the move at the time, Save the Children Director of Conflict and Humanitarian Policy George Graham said:
“We are deeply disappointed by this decision. Britain is selling bombs to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. And the Saudi-led coalition is killing children in repeated violations of international humanitarian law. This is not a point of contention – the evidence is overwhelming. It has been documented by UN reports, by aid groups on the ground and by credible human rights organisations.”
The Guardian has recently reported that over 1,100 children have died during the conflict so far and that many young children have been made to fight. Back in March, the Independent reported that the UK government has made around £3.3bn in arms sales to Saudi Arabia. In contrast, with the US it has given just £371.5 million in aid to Yemen over the course of the conflict.
The new UK-wide YouGov poll for Save the Children found that most Brits are opposed to the UK government selling arms to the Saudi Arabian government. A total of 45% said they should not approve any such sales. 14% said sales should be kept at the current level, one in ten favoured fewer sales and one in twenty thought the government should sell more.
When ‘don’t knows’ are removed, 60% of respondents said they favoured no arms sales between the two countries.
Poll respondents were then told that the UK is selling arms to Saudi Arabia, which could be being used in Yemen.
They were then asked whether it was acceptable for the UK to be selling arms to Saudi Arabia that could be used in the conflict. No less than 59% of respondents said such sales were unacceptable.
Commenting on the poll, George Graham said that:
“It is clear from this poll that the public believes weaponry built on the British Isles is casting a dark shadow over our standing in the world.
“All sides have killed and maimed thousands of children in this brutal war – but the fact remains that only one side, the Saudi-led Coalition, is dropping bombs supplied by Britain. The UK must urgently suspend arms sales until there is a proper international investigation and our allies stop blocking vital humanitarian aid.”
So far, over 28,000 people have signed a Save the Children survey to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which could be being used in the Yemen conflict.
The full results of the poll can be found here. Polling was conducted by YouGov for Save the Children and took place between the 30th and 31st August.