Weapons trade targeted by charity ad over role in Yemeni civilian deaths

13 Sep 2017By maya


  • Duration00:02:59

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SBS World News Radio: A powerful new advertising campaign by British charity Save the Children points to the controversial role of arms sales in the Yemen conflict, as one of the world's largest arms fairs takes place in London.

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The ad, set to the stirring music of British composer Edward Elgar, is a play on Britain's 'engineering might'...

"Sleek and fast unstoppable machine .. symbol of our engineering might .."

The video, shot in the style of a slick car commercial, then pans out to reveal what's really being described: a laser-guided bomb, one of the weapons reportedly used in airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen...

... "Made in Britain, dropped on children ..."

British actor Dominic West explains why he lent his voice to narrate the video.

"I've seen the life saving work that UK aid provides children and families when they need it most. What saddens me deeply is that at the same time as we're doing good we're also doing a lot of damage. UK weapons are being used in a war that is killing and maiming children in their thousands. In Yemen just last year at least 1,340 children were killed or injured - the majority by our allies."

Meanwhile a panel set up by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen to investigate civilian casualties has concluded that a series of deadly air strikes was largely justified.

Mansour Ahmed al-Mansour, a legal advisor to the panel, cited the presence of armed militiamen at the homes, schools and clinics that were targeted.

"Until the moment of preparing this report, we have not found serious intentional violations in Yemen. The presence of innocent civilian victims in the war is because of mistaken bombardment and the presence of mistakes. This exists and we have previously said that."

But Human Rights Watch accuses the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes, saying recent air strikes killed 39 civilians, including 26 children in two months.

It's calling on the United Nations Security Council to launch an international investigation into the alleged abuses at its September session, which begins this week.

The UN's human right's chief, Zeid Raa'd al Hussein, echoes that call.

"The minimal efforts made towards accountability over the past year are insufficient to respond to the gravity of the continuing and daily violations involved in this conflict. As of 30 August 2017, my office has verified at least 5,144 civilians killed and more than 8,749 injured since the start of the conflict. Actual numbers are likely to be far higher. Coalition air strikes continue to be the leading cause of civilian casualties, including of children."


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