STATEMENTS

Hodeida offensive must be stopped, HRW asks US to stop arming Alkhalifa

As the Saudi-led aggressors gather their forces to attack the only functioning port of Hodeida on the Red Sea, the new UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has warned that the new offensive to retake the port will result in mass displacement and “in a single stroke, take peace off the table”.  Oxford University’s Elisabeth Kendall said: “The Houthis’ heartlands in Yemen’s north have been pulverised after well over a decade of [guerrilla] war. They have every reason to defy military logic and keep fighting. Military gains may be of short term use.” The human cost of taking the city of 600,000 people could be catastrophic, several aid organisations have warned. “An additional 340,000 people could be displaced should Hodeidah come under attack,” said Bhanu Bhatnagar, a Save the Children spokesperson. “The fighting is also likely to be protracted and the possible use of explosive weapons in densely populated urban areas will have a disproportionate impact on the civilian population.” The complete closure of [Hodeidah] port would lead to a devastating cut in the humanitarian and commercial supply chain just when it’s needed most. Food imports have already reached the lowest levels since the conflict started and the price of basic commodities has risen by a third. In its editorial today, The Washington Post said that instead of arming Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a way to counter alleged Iranian influence in Yemen, the US must insist the Saudis take peace talks seriously and the Emiratis halt their attack on Hodeida.

In a brave tweet by an American lawmaker, Senator Rand Paul‏ tweeted on 25th May the following statement:  We need to acknowledge that Saudi Arabia is a problematic actor in the Middle East. We shouldn’t be enabling an arms race between Saudi Arabia and Iran! We also need to stop supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia that are then used to massacre innocent lives in Yemen. There is rising unease in Washington as Trump’s policies of compromising American “values” in return for money from corrupt regimes in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi human rights body, Alqst is calling for a global campaign to raise awareness re Saudi Arabia’s imprisoned ‘human rights heroes’, including women’s rights activists like Loujain Hathloul and human rights lawyer Waleed Abulkhair and others. It said: As an act of solidarity against injustice, and so the world will learn the truth: Let’s keep the names of human rights heroes constantly before the world – and in the face of the Saudi authorities. It also said: Worse than injustice itself, and far more dangerous, is that justice should become accepted as normal, and so become pervasive and entrenched.  This happens when it goes unchallenged, or when people are unaware of it, or at least of its true scale – which is exactly what is happening now in Saudi Arabia.

In Bahrain a senior physician has been arrested for the second time in seven years. Yesterday Ophthalmologist and human rights activist Dr. Saeed al-Samahiji was snatched from the court room and taken to unspecified torture dungeon operated by Alkhalifa occupiers Two natives have been given jail sentences for opposing the criminal regime. Photographer Sayed Baqer Al-Kamel and online blogger Sayed Ali Al-Durazi have been sentenced to two years in prison, while Nabeel Rajab awaits his fate for expressing an opinion on the war on Yemen. In the early hours of Thursday 24th May three young natives were detained in a house raid at the town of Dair. Ali Abdul Hadi Mahdi, 16, Ali Ahmad Yousuf, 18 and Abbas Jaffar Ahmad were subjected to horrific treatment as they were led away from their families by ISIS-style hooded Alkhalifa mercenaries. Concerns are rising for the safety of two women forcibly disappeared 12 days ago. Nothing has been heard of Zakiya Isa AlBarbouri and Fatima Dawood Hassan since they were snatched by regime’s agents on 19th May.

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On 24th May Human Rights Watch called on the United States to reject two planned arms sales, totaling nearly $1 billion, to Bahrain in light of the Gulf country’s “dismal record on human rights”, the rights group said in a statement. Last week, the U.S. approved a possible sale to Bahrain of 3,000 bomb bodies worth an estimated $45 million. In April, the State Department approved a possible sale of attack helicopters worth an estimated $911 million. “These two weapons sales make clear that the Trump administration intends nothing short of a free pass on human rights for Bahrain,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch. Rights groups have accused authorities of seeking to stamp out dissent.  “In the past year, Bahrain has sharpened its crackdown on activists, lawyers, and journalists,” Human Rights Watch said. “It has arbitrarily revoked a record number of citizenships of nationals, carried out unfair trials of civilians in military courts, and harassed, intimidated, imprisoned, and prosecuted rights defenders and their family members.”

Bahrain Freedom Movement

30th May 2018 (info@vob.org, www.vob.org)

 

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