Australia May Be Complicit in War Crimes If It Supports Saudi-Led Coalition in Yemen – UN

9/5/2019

Countries – such as Australia and its allies – who arm and provide military support to a Saudi-led coalition that has starved civilians, bombed hospitals and blocked humanitarian aid as tactics of war, may be complicit in war crimes, a United Nations report has said. A UN panel of experts has published a list of 160 politicians and military officers who could face war crimes charges, including from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemeni government military forces, and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement.

Australia has embarked on a concerted push to expand defense exports in recent years, particularly to the Middle East. The former defence industry minister Christopher Pyne met key Saudi and Emirati officials to discuss exports in 2016 and 2017.

The three-member UN panel, which includes the former Australian Labor MP Melissa Parke, said there had been a “collective failure” by the international community to prevent extreme human rights violations. The report found the conflict had been plagued by human rights abuses including hospitals being bombed, civilians being deliberately targeted by shelling and sniper fire, civilian populations being deliberately starved, medical supplies being blocked, rape, murder, enforced disappearances, torture, and forcing children to fight. The panel “urges other states to refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict and reminds them of their obligation to take all reasonable measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.”

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Outlet: 
The Guardian