GENEVA — Dozens of Western countries rebuked Saudi Arabia for its aggressive crackdown on free expression in a landmark initiative on Thursday in the United Nations’ top human rights body.
Aid leaders accuse the two Gulf states of double standards for both providing aid and instigating violence.
Defence contractors are in Abu Dhabi this week for the Middle East’s biggest arms fair – supported to the hilt by UK ministers.
Khaleeji bagpipe band, a colourful aircraft display, a performance by the Armenian Military Orchestra and a big show of support from the Emirate royal families. These were some of the touches at Sunday’s opening ceremony for the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex 2019) in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East’s biggest arms fair.
It’s a decadent and distasteful celebration of militarism and weaponry. Missiles, rifles, tanks, helicopters and warships are on display for anyone that can afford them. More than 100,000 people will attend this week, including representatives from all of the world’s biggest arms companies and military delegates from 57 nations. Among those looking to do business is the UK government, which has sent a team of civil servants to support UK arms company reps in doing as much business as possible. Particularly with the uncertainty of Brexit on the horizon, they will pull out all stops to cement sales.
A six- or seven-year-old Saudi boy, while on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Medina with his Shia mother, was barbarously killed for unknown reasons. According to what has recently surfaced on social media, the young boy, named Zakariya Bader al-Jabir, was savagely murdered by a taxi driver in front of his mother late last month. Shia Rights Watch (SRW) said the boy was murdered after he was confirmed to be Shia.
The current crisis is closely linked to the state’s finances as many people are in some form or another dependent on government payments. The fact that many state employees have not been paid, “partly caused a huge humanitarian crisis”.
Half a million children displaced by fighting in Hodeidah in just six months
At least one in ten children across Yemen (1.5 million) have been forced from their homes because of the four-year-long brutal war, exposing them to serious risks including hunger, disease and violence, warns Save the Children.
More than half a million children have been displaced by the fighting in Hodeidah governorate in just the past six months, according to the UN. That’s an average of more than 2,000 children every single day since June last year. And that’s only from Hodeidah, which has seen some of the worst fighting in Yemen.
Civilians fleeing violence face life-threatening risks the moment they embark on their journeys. The most immediate danger is death or injury due to explosive weapons which have been used indiscriminately by all parties to the conflict with little regard for their legal obligation to protect civilians in conflict.
Amnesty International published an open source investigation on Wednesday, reporting on increasing violence and danger in the Yemen conflict, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ‘recklessly’ supporting militias with heavy and developed weapons.
It is no surprise the Saudi propaganda machine has come after US House Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
“The only losers are the people — their grave suffering presents generational risk to Yemen’s future,” said an expert.