Campaigners call for PM to withdraw invitation to Saudi Crown Prince

By agency reporter
January 27, 2018

Human rights and anti-war campaigners have presented an Open Letter to Downing Street, calling upon the Prime Minister to withdraw the invitation she has extended to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Open Letter highlights the role of the Crown Prince in creating the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today by his war upon Yemen. Equally, it expresses concern at the lack of any substantial progress on human rights in Saudi Arabia, where over 100 people were executed in 2017.

The event is the start of a concerted campaign, with a parliamentary petition having been launched, and an Early Day Motion in Parliament due to be launched shortly. A copy of the Open Letter and signatory organisations is below.

Lucie Kinchin of Campaign Against Arms Trade said, "If this visit goes ahead it will be seen around the world as a clear endorsement of the devastating war that the Crown Prince is waging on Yemen, and a slap in the face for those being tortured and abused by the Saudi dictatorship. After three years of destruction, it is time for Theresa May to stop arming and supporting this appalling regime."

The full text of the letter is as follows:

"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." 

Signatories: Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK), Bahrain Institute for Human Rights, Bahrain Opposition Block, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Global Justice Now, Human Rights for Yemen, Iraqi Democrats, Sheba for Democracy and Human Rights, Stop the War Coalition and War on Want.

* CAAT https://www.caat.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.