Visist of Saudi Crown Prince will 'be met with protests'

By agency reporter
February 7, 2018

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed to human rights campaigners that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman, will visit the UK between 7 - 9 March 2018.

Campaign Against Arms Trade say the visit will be met with protests. The final details of protests will be confirmed in the days ahead.

The visit has been opposed by a broad coalition of human rights organisations, which wrote to Theresa May last month urging her to cancel the visit. They include: Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, Bahrain Opposition Block, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Global Justice Now, Human Rights for Yemen, Iraqi Democrats, Sheba for Democracy and Human Rights, Stop the War Coalition and War on Want. 

The Crown Prince has been the architect of the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen, which has created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. Despite the devastation, the UK government has continued to arm and support the Saudi regime.

UK government statistics, compiled by Campaign Against Arms Trade, show that since the 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)
  • £1.9 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said, "The Crown Prince is a figurehead for a regime with one of the worst human rights records in the world. He has overseen the devastating bombardment in Yemen, which has killed thousands of people and created a terrible humanitarian catastrophe."

Lily Chamberlain of Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said, "Theresa May is prioritising business and trade over the lives of Yemeni civilians. She evidently would rather facilitate the continued arms trade than take basic actions to secure the human rights of the innocent people affected. Instead, she could help to end the miserable war in Yemen and call for the release of leading Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab, who criticised the war and is paying the maximum price for it in Bahrain."

Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition said, "The Saudi regime is involved in a terrible bombing war in Yemen, is one of the worst abusers of human rights in the world and is a major bastion against democracy. The timing of the visit round International Women’s Day adds insult to injury for millions of women. We will be on the streets to protest."

* Read the letter to Theresa May here

* Campaign Against Arms Trade https://www.caat.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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