A coalition of human rights organisations has written to Theresa May, calling on her to cancel the visit of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The visit, which was confirmed in December, is expected in the weeks ahead. The Crown Prince has overseen the devastating bombardment of Yemen and holds the second most senior role in the repressive Saudi regime, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world.
Despite the humanitarian crisis, the UK government has continued to arm and support the Saudi regime. Since the ongoing bombardment began in 2015, the UK has licensed £4.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, including £2.7 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones) and £1.9 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures). In January of 2017, Michael Fallon urged fellow MPs to stop criticising Saudi human rights abuses in for fear that such criticisms might endanger lucrative arms deals. Hours afterwards, he and fellow MPs were “wined-and-dined by the arms trade at a £450-a-head banquet” by arms manufacturers. Campaign groups hope to call a halt to the UK government’s role in propping up the arms trade, which they say shores up the power of corrupt and deadly regimes.
Withdraw invitation to Saudi Crown Prince
The undersigned organisations and individuals urge the prime minister Theresa May to withdraw the invitation to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to visit Britain. 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.
The Crown Prince has overseen the war on Yemen, creating tens of thousands of deaths and injuries. In the words of the UN, Yemen is facing “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster for 50 years”. UK made jets and bombs have played a major role in destroying civilian targets and the poor nation’s infrastructure. UK personnel, from the armed forces and BAE Systems, are present in the Saudi operations centre, aiding this catastrophe.
The Saudi regime has also supported repression in other states, notably Bahrain where its military supported the crackdown on peaceful protestors in 2011. Recently, the Crown Prince has established a blockade of Qatar, and held the prime minister of Lebanon in custody. Both of these latter acts were failed attempts to impose regime change on sovereign nations.
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.
Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK)
Bahrain Institute for Human Rights
Bahrain Opposition Block
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
Human Rights for Yemen
Sheba for Democracy and Human Rights
Stop the War Coalition
#226 Get Socialism Done ● Special US section edited by Joe Guinan and Sarah McKinley ● A post-austerity state ● Political theatre ● Racism in football ● A new transatlantic left? ● Britain’s zombie constitution ● Follow the dark money ● Book reviews ● And much more
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
If elected, the next Labour government can finally depart from the neoliberal consensus and deliver a major shift in wealth and power, argues Adam Peggs
Simon Hedges shares his famous-on-Twitter analysis of the state of the left today
The Scottish struggle for independence is one of several issues at the centre of debates over where power in the United Kingdom should be located, writes Isobel Lindsey
As Sanders and Corbyn head to the polls, Peter Gowan describes a new spirit of international collaboration on the left
The 2017 Labour election manifesto was good but the 2019 version is the document we’ve really been waiting for, argues Mike Phipps
In 2017, Labour won Kensington by just 20 votes. Brian Eno explains why he's backing Emma Dent Coad in the seat - and why voting Lib Dem is ‘voting Tory without admitting it’
Following Labour’s manifesto pledge to educate the public on the histories of empire, slavery, and migration, Kimberly McIntosh explains the dangers of colonial nostalgia in the national curriculum
The stakes could not be higher during this election. Help us cover what's really happening
Suki Ferguson reviews the XR guide to climate activism