Over half of people in the United Kingdom are unaware of Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen, despite Britain being a key supporter of the military aggression that is entering its third year and has killed thousands of civilians.
Only 49 percent of British people knew of the war that the Saudis have waged in Yemen since March 2015, according to a YouGov poll seen exclusively by The Independent.
The figure was even lower for the 18 to 24 age group, where only 37 percent were aware of the Yemen conflict, the survey found.
Human Appeal, a British international charity organization based in Manchester, warned that a lack of awareness about the war was worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
“The crisis in Yemen has been forgotten about or ignored completely,” Human Appeal CEO Othman Moqbel said.
“We believe this is because that the conflict has not generated a huge amount of refugees coming to Europe and there is the misconception amongst the public that it’s only a regional crisis,” he said.
“To treat what is currently happening in Yemen, and has been happening for [over] two years, as something insignificant is turning a blind eye to the escalating humanitarian emergency.”
More than 12,000 people have been killed since Riyadh unleashed the campaign against Yemen. The campaign’s aim was to push back revolutionary fighters from Sana’a and reinstate Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh who resigned as president.
Approximately 75 people are estimated to be killed or wounded every day in the war, which has pushed the country to the verge of famine as 14 million people lack a regular access to food.
Around 1,000 children also die every week from preventable diseases like diarrhea and respiratory infections. Fewer than half of Yemen’s health facilities are operational as aid agencies struggle to access war-torn regions with lifesaving medicine.
UK-made weapons, including cluster bombs, have been used in Saudi airstrikes, despite calls by British lawmakers to end arms sales to Riyadh over war crimes allegations.
Britain was the principal sponsor of a UN Security Council resolution used by Saudi Arabia to justify its military intervention, said Peter Salisbury, a senior research fellow in the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House.
“The UK is also a huge arms supplier and provides a great deal of logistical support to Saudi forces,” he told The Independent,” Salisbury said.
“Arguably the UK has also given political coverage to the Saudis by preventing various resolutions and investigations from happening,” he added.
The UK government has sold over £3.3 billion worth of arms – including fighter jets, bombs and missiles – to the Saudi regime since it launched the military campaign in Yemen.