Theresa May urged to withdraw Saudi crown prince’s invitation to visit Britain
From The New Arab: Theresa May has been urged to withdraw her invitation for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince to visit Britain over the kingdom’s human rights violations.
The visit, announced in December, is due in the coming weeks.
However, due to Saudi Arabia’s repressive policies against its citizens, and its bombing campaign in Yemen which created “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster for 50 years” according to a senior UN official, several NGOs focusing on human rights in the Middle East signed a declaration on Tuesday asking the prime minister to cancel the visit.
“This visit will be regarded as an uncritical endorsement of the crown prince and the atrocities that his regime has inflicted on Yemen,” Andrew Smith, media spokesperson for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), told The New Arab.
“If Theresa May wants to do the right thing for those living under repression in Saudi, and those being bombed in Yemen, then she must cancel the visit and finally stop the arms sales.”
“Bin Salman is the second most senior member of the Saudi regime, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Torture, arbitrary detention, and other appalling abuses are widely documented. In 2017 alone, Saudi authorities executed over 100 people.”
It also highlighted Bin Salman’s oversight of the Yemen War, which has killed and injured tens of thousands of Yemenis. The letter addresses Saudi Arabia’s role in supporting Bahrain’s violent repression of peaceful protesters in 2011 – which still continues – as well as the establishment of a stringent blockade on Qatar, and Riyadh’s holding of the Lebanese prime minister in custody.
“It shames us as a nation to support and associate with a brutal dictator who uses hunger as a weapon, and has allowed the largest cholera epidemic in history to develop in Yemen. The interests of the people of Britain, and the peoples suffering from the crown prince’s adventurism, are not served by this visit. The invitation must be withdrawn,” the letter concluded.
Alongside showing tolerance to the Saudi regime and its actions, the UK government continues to militarily support the kingdom, selling billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia since it began its aerial assault on Yemen in March 2015.