In Yemen, impunity prevails and the war grinds on

In Yemen, impunity prevails and the war grinds on
Comment: The people of Yemen have the right to justice, accountability and the chance to rebuild their lives, writes Tasnim Nazeer.
4 min read
11 Apr, 2019
Yemen's recent cholera outbreak has killed over 300 people [Getty]
The war in Yemen has been described by various world leaders and NGOs as the 'worst humanitarian crisis in the world'. 

Millions of innocent civilians, many of them children, have had to bare the brunt of this brutal war. As a mother myself, it pains me that nearly half a million babies and children are chronically malnourished and dying.

The reality is, those in power do not value their lives enough to put an immediate end to the war, and instead continue to fuel their own political agendas.

The people of Yemen have suffered on an unprecedented scale since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and the UAE supported by the US and UK began the assault in response to the 2014 coup staged by the Iranian-backed Houthis militias.

Since then, the conflict has been shamelessly driven by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his coalition, who appears not to think twice about killing his own brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

Not only is the US heavily complicit in this war, but my own British government was also found to have authorised 18,107 license of open delivery arms to Saudi Arabia for use in the Yemen conflict, according to a damning report by Control Arms UK. 

Heartbreakingly, 24 million people in Yemen are now in need of humanitarian assistance, almost half of them children, and food shortages continue to affect up to 16 million people, as documented in the report. Yet our government remains silent.
Heartbreakingly, 24 million people in Yemen are now in need of humanitarian assistance
Nobel peace prize winner, Tawakkol Karman quite rightly stated in an interview with Al Jazeera English, that "The United States president has the power to end the war."

"I'm calling on him [Trump] to stop the war in Yemen. He can do it more than making the nuclear agreement with North Korea." Frustratingly, despite Donald Trump having the power to end the war, he has pledged to veto the historic resolution passed by US Congress and led by Senator Bernie Sanders to end US support for the war in Yemen. 

Trump however, appears oblivious to the suffering, and is working to ensure positive relations with Saudi Arabia no matter what crimes they commit.

But impunity prevails, and those in power fail to be held accountable, while war crimes continue to be swept under the carpet. 

It is not only the US government who has the power to de-escalate this brutal conflict. According to a new Channel 4 documentary - Britain's Hidden War, Britain and the US have had the ability to call a halt to the war at any point over the past four years.

It is highly disingenuous for the UK or the US to evade responsibility for the role they play in the war in Yemen.

It should also be made clear that this war in Yemen is also a war on democracy following the Arab Spring.

Saudi Arabia hopes to hinder the progressive movements and push for democracy that Arab countries such as Yemen called for during the Arab Spring.

Read more: Saudi Arabia and UAE wage counter-revolution in Yemen

To do so, it is maintaining a conflict that's killing innocent civilians in Yemen, under the guise of tackling the Houthis.  Western governments who govern on the principles of democracy are going against the very ethos of their word, by supporting Saudi Arabia in this brutal offensive, and the quicker they realise this the better. 

Journalists, activists and public figures who call for the war to end have been dismissed to the point we feel we are calling on deaf ears - world leaders have failed miserably to assume their responsibilities on the global stage.

The people of Yemen have the right to justice, accountability and the chance to rebuild their lives. It is about time world leaders put aside their own agendas, and that the people of Yemen were given the chance to pave the way to a better future. 

Tasnim Nazeer is an award-winning journalist, author, and Universal Peace Federation Ambassador. She has written for Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Middle East Eye, CNN, BBC, and others. She was awarded the FIPP the global network of media Rising Stars in Media Award 2018.

Follow her on twitter: @tasnimnazeer1

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.