Stephen today joined Amnesty International and a cross-party group of MPs to deliver a 21,000-name petition to Downing Street – calling on David Cameron to end arms sales to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition acting in Yemen, and to investigate the use of UK-manufactured cluster munitions in the conflict.
The signatures were gathered over the last two weeks, after recent evidence was uncovered by Amnesty that a UK-manufactured cluster bomb had been used by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in northern Yemen between October and 2015 and January 2016. The bomb, which had apparently malfunctioned, had left scores of unexploded “bomblets” strewn over a wide area near a farm in Al-khadhra village in Hajjah governorate, six miles from the Saudi Arabia border.
The petition – handed in by a delegation comprising Stephen; Amnesty International representatives; Dr Tania Mathias, Conservative MP for Twickenham; Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland; Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, SNP MP for Ochil and South Perthshire; Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow; and Margaret Ferrier, SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West – calls for the UK Government to halt all arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other members of its military coalition in Yemen.
Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s arms expert, said: “Cluster bombs are one of the most vile weapons around, scattering bomblets over large areas and putting people’s lives at huge risk long after they have landed. Sales of arms to Saudi Arabia and other countries involved in the horror unfolding in Yemen must end now, and there needs to be a full investigation into the use of a UK cluster bomb by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group hosted a meeting with Amnesty’s Yemen Researcher Rasha Mohamed on Tuesday (June 7) to further explain the circumstances and significance of the discovery of the UK cluster bomb in Yemen.
And on Wednesday (June 8), there will be a parliamentary debate into the question of human rights and the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.