159,000 sign petition to stop UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia
Protest at Yemen war & jailing of Raif Badawi & other political prisoners
London, UK – 15 March 2017
Bianca Jagger, Peter Tatchell and Baroness Jenny Jones led the hand-in of a 159,000-signature petition to Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street today Wednesday, 15 March.
The petition, organised by Peter Tatchell, urges the UK government to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its war crimes in Yemen and its jailing of blogger Raif Badawi and other political prisoners, which violate international human rights law.
Read the petition:
The petition was supported by the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, English Pen, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Care2 and the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
Bianca Jagger, President and Chief Executive, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, said:
“I call on Prime Minister Theresa May to stop the arms trade to Saudi Arabia with immediate effect and publicly sanction the regime for its egregious human rights violations and the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Yemen. I urge the Prime Minister to intervene on behalf of Raif Bafdawi, writer and blogger, who was sentenced to the barbaric punishment of 1,000 lashes simply for expressing an opinion.”
Petition author Peter Tatchell, Director of the human rights organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation, noted:
“The vast number of signatures on the @Care2 petition reflects a groundswell of opinion against Britain’s collusion with a Saudi regime that is committing war crimes in Yemen and imprisoning dissidents like Raif Badawi. We urge Theresa May to end UK arms sales to the regime and to publicly call for the release of Raif and all political prisoners.”
“The Saudi government should be treated as a pariah state. It is indiscriminately bombing civilian areas in Yemen using UK-supplied illegal cluster bombs. The Saudi supreme court upheld the barbaric sentence against Raif Badawi of 10 years jail and 1,000 lashes for expressing the ‘wrong’ opinions. As well as abusing women and migrant workers as second class citizens, the Saudis actively persecute political dissidents, religious minorities, LGBT people and trade union activists.”
Beth Granter, campaigner at the Care2 petition website, which hosts the petition, said:
“Theresa May must not ignore the voices of 159,000 @Care2 members who are urging her to stop the UK selling arms to Saudi Arabia. If human rights are important to the Prime Minister, she will publicly condemn Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses. The Care2 community will continue to campaign until she does so.”
Claire Brand of Campaign Against the Arms Trade added:
“For two years UK-made bombs have been falling on Yemen. The consequences have been devastating, with thousands being killed and whole communities being displaced or destroyed. The UK government’s response has been to offer uncritical backing to the Saudi regime and to sell even more weapons. If Theresa May and her colleagues want to do what’s right for the Yemeni people then they must end their complicity in this destruction.”