A coalition of human rights group have demanded that Theresa May withdraw her invitation to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit the UK.
The coalition, including the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and Arab Organization for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK), sent a letter to the prime minister on Monday saying the visit was not in Britain’s interest, nor in the interest of the peoples suffering from the Crown Prince’s adventurism.
The Crown Prince has overseen the deadly bombardment of Yemen and holds a senior role in the repressive Saudi regime, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world.
Press TV reports:
“The Saudi regime … has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Torture, arbitrary detention, and other appalling abuses are widely documented,” the letter said.
“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,” it added.
May had invited the crown prince and Saudi King Salman in December to visit the UK in 2018 amid the international outcry over Riyadh’s ongoing war crimes in Yemen.
Britain is a major supporter of the Saudi war on Yemen. The May government has been under fire at home and abroad for refusing to suspend British arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid its ongoing war on Yemen.
London, however, has turned a deaf ear to critics as it sees Saudi Arabia as a trading partner that Britain would need after exit from the European Union (EU).
According to CAAT, the UK government has licensed more than £4.6 billion ($6.3 billion ) worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the bombing began in 2015.
The Saudi-led war has so far killed more than 12,000 people and led to a humanitarian crisis as well as a deadly cholera outbreak in Yemen.
“British-made jets and bombs have played a major role in destroying civilian targets and the poor nation’s [Yemen’s] infrastructure,” the rights groups’ letter said.
“UK personnel, from the armed forces and BAE Systems, are present in the Saudi operations centre, aiding this catastrophe.”
The letter which also signed by the Bahrain Institute for Human Rights, Sheba for Democracy and Human Rights, Human Rights for Yemen, Iraqi Democrats, and Stop the War Coalition states that Saudi officials have ‘supported repression in other states’ such as in Bahrain in 2011, during a military crackdown against anti-regime protesters.