UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia have been directly involved in the destruction of Yemen’s health system and the targeting of hospitals and other health facilities in Yemen.

On Wednesday 21 September, the Medact Arms and Militarisation group handed in the following letter calling for an embargo on these arms sales to Liam Fox,  Secretary of State for International Trade, who is responsible for licensing arms sales. Liam Fox himself studied medicine and worked as a GP, and we appeal to him to think of the health of Yemeni people, the brutal attacks on his medical colleagues in Yemen and his duty to ‘first do no harm.’

This joint letter was followed up by a personal plea from co-coordinator of the Arms and Militarisation group, and trainee GP, Sarah Alhulail.

#healthpeace #stoparmingsaudi

Dear Dr Liam Fox,

It is now eighteen months since the recent outbreak of armed conflict in Yemen began, forcing 2.4 million people to flee their homes, and leaving over 22 million people in need of humanitarian support. The conflict has killed over six thousand people, and left the health care system on its knees.

Humanitarian agencies are struggling to respond and the country stands on the brink of famine. A senior representative of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has described the current level of humanitarian assistance in Yemen as a “drop in the ocean.”

The underlying causes of the conflict between the Huthis and the current regime in power are complex, with the latter being supported by a coalition of other states led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States. Both sides in this conflict stand accused of serious violations of international law, including war crimes, with particular condemnation of the aerial bombing campaign that is targeted at Huthi-controlled areas.

Accusations of war crimes levelled at the Saudi led coalition in particular have included attacks on three Médecins Sans Frontières facilities which resulted in the death of both patients and healthcare workers.

As health professionals, we have a duty to speak out against all causes of ill health in Yemen. This must include the sale and export of UK weaponry that is fuelling the conflict.

Between April 2015 and March 2016, the UK approved sales of around £3.3 billion worth of combat aircraft and bombs to the Royal Saudi Air Force. A recent legal opinion by Matrix Chambers concluded that the UK Government is in breach of its obligations arising under the Consolidated Criteria on Arms Exports, the EU Common Position on Arms Exports and the Arms Trade Treaty by authorizing transfers of weapons to Saudi Arabia that could be used in Yemen.

We join human rights organisations, the European Parliament, the Dutch parliament, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in calling for an immediate end to UK arms transfers to all sides in this conflict. We also echo the advice of the Chair of the International Development Committee, Stephen Twigg MP, that the UK Government should retract its opposition to calls for an independent international inquiry into the alleged abuses of international humanitarian law during the conflict.

Co-authored by Dr David McCoy, Dr Sarah Alhulail, Ben Clavey and Chris Venables.

Signatories:

Dr David McCoy: Director, Medact, Director of Global Health Teaching, Queen Mary University London
Dr Frank Boulton: Medact Trustee, Visiting Lecturer, Southampton University
Dr Sridhar Venkatapurum: Lecturer in Global Health and Philosophy Kings College London, Trustee, Medact
Sir Iain Chalmers: Patron, Medact
Dr Jacky Davis: BMA National Council
David Nott OBE: Consultant Surgeon, London
Dr Johann Malawana: Junior Doctor
Dr Louise Irvine: BMA National Council, GP, London
Dr Jackie Applebee: GP Tower Hamlets
Dr Iain Maclennan: GP & Consultant in Public Health (retired)
Dr Richard Horton: Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet
Dr Sharif Ismail: Academic Clinical Fellow in Public Health, Imperial College London
Professor John Middleton: Professor of the UK Faculty of Public Health

Sir Andy Haines, Doctor
Mr Tara Ballav Adhikari: Activist
Dr Benjamin Bouquet: Public health registrar
Dr Tomasz Pierscionek: Trust grade psychiatrist
Mr David Carroll: Medical student
Dr Helen Young: SHO paediatrics
Mr Sahan Samaraweera: Med student
Dr Bethan McDonald: Speciality Registrar in Public Health
Mr Daniel Hadley: Medical Student
Dr Rajeka Lazarus
Dr Nadeem Hasan
Dr Marjorie Johnston
Mr Cam Stocks: Medical Student
Dr Mona Kamal
Miss Francesca Burns: Medical Student
Dr Joseph Piper
Mr Taher Qasim MBE
Dr Aisha Shah
Mr Rakay Khan
Dr Eimi Howse
Miss Kate Nevens
Miss Hannah Cowan: Health Student
Dr Michael Casey
Miss Lauren Evans: Medical Student
Dr Kapal Amarasinghe
Dr Naila Aslam
Dr Piyush Pushkar
Dr Rebecca Inglis
Dr Gauhar Malik
Mr Nathan Cantley: Medical Student
Dr Benedict Warner
Dr Coral Jones
Dr Rebecca Proudfoot
Miss Carys Thomas: Medical Student
Dr Dominic Pimenta
Miss Eluned Hyde: Veterinary Student
Dr Georgia Adamson
Mr Matthew Quinn: Medical Student
Miss Florence Mutlow: Medical Student
Mr Benjamin Eder: Medical Student
Miss Damaris Adebambo: Medical Student
Dr Naseeb Qirbi
Dr Parisa Mansoori
Mr Omar Bider: Health Student
Dr Zoe Steley
Dr David Tracey
Mr Arron Hope: Medical Student
Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis
Mr Liban Ahmed: Medical Student
Dr Zarith Zuber
Miss Soumia Jannin
Dr Pam Wortley
Dr Frank Arnold
Dr Jamie Willson
Miss Taniya Esmail: Medical Student
Miss Ilaf Moslawy: Medical Student
Dr Duncan Macintyre
Dr Michael Kirkham
Miss Alice Munro: Nurse
Mr Selali Fiamanya: Medical Student
Dr Ruth Wiggans
Mr Khalil Secker: Medical Student
Dr Ruth Renfrew
Dr Suzanne Clements
Dr Sophie Pooley
Ms Lesley Marshall
Dr Pam Wortley
Rosalinda Maog: Nurse
Miss Selina Christy: Medical Student
Ms Maria Moore: Nurse
Dr Amy Squire
Dr Paul Teed
Dr Ruth Speare
Dr Hugh Grant-Peterkin
Dr Alick Munro
Dr Izzy Fergus
Dr Sonya Baksi
Professor Jim Orford, Psychologist
Dr Alvaro Alonso-Garbayo
Dr Elizabeth Archer
Bim Grenal, Sonographer
Yvonne Dockery, Health Visitor
Farheen Samad, Medical Student
Beverley Newbold, Nurse
Thom Petne, Physiotherapist
Shawn Chan, Sonographer
Constance Boateng, Scrub Nurse
Neil Lenus, Medical Student
Jennie Read, GP Clinical Lead OOH
Athea Mentore, Nurse
Aldeen Massy, Nurse
Elena Fernandez, Nurse
Muhammed Qureshi, PHD Research Student
Robert Volene, HPB Consultant
Miss Amelia Lee, Medical Student
Dr Lesley Morrison, Doctor
Dr James Dyer, Psychiatrist
Dr Judith McDonald, Doctor
Lisa Cardon, Nurse
Dr Stephanie Franz, Doctor
Dr Ali Khan, Doctor
Dr Benedict Warner, Doctor
Dr Mona Ahmed, Doctor
Mr Mark Boothroyd, Nurse
Miss Sarah Khan, Health Student
Dr Eliot Waterhouse, Doctor
Dr Kathryn Boyd, Doctor
Dr Mary Curran, Doctor
Dr Guddi Singh, Doctor
Mrs Judy El-Bushra
Mr Daniel Flecknoe, Health Worker
Ms Amy Hall, Nurse
Ms Marion Birch, Nurse
Professor David Southall, Doctor
Dr Marie Pillar, Doctor
Dr Tim Crocker-Buque, Doctor
Dr Andrew Feinstein
Mr Ashley Shield, Health Worker
Mrs Holly Royston-Ward, Nurse
Dr N.A Anwar, Doctor
Dr Kim Pramanik, Doctor
Dr Tamanna Rahiki, Doctor
Miss Shehrazad Halawa, Doctor
Dr Ruth Stern, Health Activist
Dr Guy Johnson, Doctor
Mr Frederik Holz, Doctor
Ms Jamie Leveret, Medical Student
Dr Anne Davidson, Doctor
Dr Judith Steel, Doctor
Professor Michael Steel, Doctor
Dr Duncan Davidson, Doctor
Dr Stephen Watkins, Doctor
Dr Gloria Jenkins, Doctor
Dr John Pike, Doctor
Mrs Joy Griffiths, Health Activist
Dr Yasmeen Hanifa, Doctor
Dr Katrina Darke, Doctor
Dr Runa Mackay, Doctor
Dr Fred Martineau, Doctor
Dr John Shenouda, Doctor
Dr Wolfgang Ditges, Psychiatrist
Dr Werner Bollendorf
Dr Ibrahim k. Lada’a, Doctor
Dr Angelika Claussen, Psychiatrist
Dr Barbara Bodechte, Doctor
Mrs Gisela Schlauch Rigby, Psychologist
Dr Helmut Küster, Doctor
Dr Mechthild Klingenburg-Vogel, Pschiatrist
Dr Dieter Lehmkuhl, Psychiatrist
Dr Milena Bornkamm, Psychiatrist
Dr Christian Harms, Radiologist
Dr Sabine Farrouh, Doctor
Dr Ursual Haun-Jünger, Doctor
Dr Christian Harms, Doctor
Mrs Claudia Böhm, Medical Student
Dr Bernhard Lache, Doctor
Mrs Marianne Soerensen, Psychologist
Miss Hannah Mohammad, Health Student
Ms Ina Hofstadt, Psychiatrist
Dr Sigrid Klose-Schlesier, Doctor
Dr Barbara Hoevener, Doctor
Dr Elisabeth Bornkamm-Bauer, Doctor
Dr Helmut Lohrer, Doctor
Dr Alice Bell, Doctor
Mr Julian Blumenthal, Doctor
Ms Amanda Chorley
Dr Duncan Davidson, Doctor
Dr Rainer Stephan, Doctor
Mr Diarmaid McDonald, Doctor
Dr Alexis Gilbert, Doctor
Dr Gabriele Von Wahlert, Doctor
Dr Emma Davidson, Doctor
Dr Michael Kirkham, Doctor
Dr Salma Ali, Doctor
Miss Elizabeth Atherton, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Miss Anahita Sharma, Medical Student
Dr Nicolas Blondel, Doctor
Ms Jamie Leveret, Medical Student
Miss Anna Kolodziejczyk, Health Student
Miss Lauren Ng, Medical Student
Miss Isabelle Guest, Medical Student
Mr Louis Peakall, Medical Student

Rhianna Louise

Rhianna Louise

Peace & Security Project Officer at Medact
Rhianna works at Medact on issues related to militarisation, the international arms trade and the refugee crisis; and supporting the growing movement for peace in the health community.

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