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UK, US ignoring war crimes of their allies: Scholar

25 September 2016 23:17


Britain, the US and their allies have taken a selective approach to the issue of human rights to protect their interests, an American scholar says, citing Saudi Arabia and Israel’s immunity to punishment as an example.

Stephen Zunes, a California-based international relations scholar, made the comments one day after the UK blocked efforts by the European Union (EU) to launch an independent international inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression in Yemen.

Initially, the EU was hoping to gather support for its proposal that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) establish an inquiry to look into the Saudi atrocities in Yemen, but instead the body was forced to replace the proposal with a much weaker one “to monitor and report on the situation” upon London’s opposition.

“This is unfortunately typical of a number of Western nations when it comes to the investigations of war crimes,” Zunes told Press TV on Sunday.

He said the UK’s move in blocking the EU investigation “demonstrated that despite all the pontificating about human rights by these major powers, it is more of a political issue for them,” he noted.

Saudi Arabia has been pounding Yemen since March 2015, killing as many as 10,000 people, according to the UN.

The British government has approved more than £3 billion in arms sales to the Saudis since the start of the war to reinstate former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Zunes said the US has taken similar measures to block UN inquiries into Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians in the occupied lands. Much like London, Washington is a major arms provider to the Saudi and Israeli regimes.

Zunes said the selective behavior demonstrated by Washington, London and their allies reveals the underlying political theme that shapes the West’s perception of human rights in other nations.

“They will highlight and sometimes even exaggerate crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses by countries they perceive as enemy but deny, minimize and cover up for such crimes by governments they consider to be allies,” the analyst explained.

“It is important to have a single measurement for international humanitarian law,” Zunes suggested. “The very nature of law is that it should apply to everyone equally, regardless of a government’s ideology or foreign relations,” the scholar concluded.

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