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US, UK must be pressured on Saudi crimes in Yemen: Activist

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Press TV has conducted an interview with Massoud Shadjareh, head of the Islamic Human Rights Commission from London, about a new UN report on the Saudi use of cluster bombs in residential areas in Yemen. 

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: The United Nations has been quite vocal now about the Saudi-led coalition’s crimes in Yemen. What do you think has brought this on finally?

Shadjareh: Well, the reality is that everybody is vocal. We’ve got all human rights organizations presenting evidence including ourselves of the abuse of the Saudis and war crimes being committed by them. Even humanitarian organizations like Oxfam have only two days ago suggested that the British government is actually breaking international law by supporting the Saudi government in their endeavor in Yemen. And the reality is that both the British government and also the United States are deeply involved in this support and providing arms, providing logistical supply. And indeed their personnel are sitting in the control and command rooms actually orchestrating these war crimes.

Children are being affected, civilians are being affected. Systematically the Saudis are breaking international law and committing war crime; but very little is being done by the institutions like the United Nation. And the reality is that in matter of next few weeks we are going to see if Saudi Arabia is going to be removed from their position on the Human Rights Committee. And that is actually the first step but I think that’s not far enough. We really need to have structures in place to bring the Saudis to account under international law.

Press TV: So, how do you suggest that happens, Mr. Shadjareh, because certainly the United Nations seems like its hands are tied. The Saudis have threatened that they will withhold funding. They’ve done that when the child rights violation blacklist came out and they were included on it but interestingly they’re also using weapons which the likes of Israel have used for example against Gaza i.e. cluster munitions. Israel got away with it. Will the Saudis get away with it as well?

Shadjareh: Well, the fact is that the United Nations has to decide that, I’m sorry using the word, ‘are they behaving like prostitutes and actually allowing people to buy them off and allow them to commit these sort of very clearly and open and public war crimes’ and then come out and say that ‘we have actually sold ourselves for a festival of dollars’ or indeed, they’re going to stand up to their responsibility of standing for human right, justice against war crimes and for the ordinary citizens and civilians in Yemen, who are among the poorest in the world.

And I think that is really what to be seen. But I think what we really also need to do is to actually urge the International Court (of Justice) in the Hague to start investigating. We need to urge the United Nations to start investigating. And I think human rights organizations need to come together and say enough is enough and really we need to put pressure on the United States and Britain in particular to stop supporting these barbaric acts against humanity.

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