Human Rights Groups Call For Huge Demonstration Amid Saudi Crown Prince’s UK Visit
UK ministers have turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia's atrocious human rights record, barely mentioning the country's crackdown on peaceful opposition figures

Demonstration against “chief architect of brutal war in Yemen” outside Downing Street have been planned after the Prime Minister confirmed she will welcome Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Britain.

Mohammed bin Salman will begin a visit to the UK on March 7 which will include talks with Theresa May on topics such as extremism and societal reform, May’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

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“The visit will usher in a new era in bilateral relations focused on a partnership that delivers wide-ranging benefits for both the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the spokesman said.

It will be Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit since taking powers in the Gulf kingdom on his appointment last June.

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Human rights campaigners will hold a demonstration next Wednesday as the prince moves to the UK.

Read More: UK And US Are Part Of All The Killing In Yemen By Selling Weapons To Saudi Arabia: Human Rights Activist

Since the Saudi-led military intervention started in Yemen in March 2015, the war-torn country has found itself on the brink of a devastating humanitarian crisis, with the UN warning of widespread famine and spread of disease. Saudi-led blockade has also been blamed for pushing Yemen to the brink of famine.

Human Rights group are calling on May to tackle bin Salman over his country’s human rights record, as well as to suspend UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia amid the kingdom’s military action in Yemen.

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The UK’s arms companies are one of the biggest suppliers of weapons to Saudis, and the British government confirmed that it has licensed £4.6bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since it began its intervention in neighbouring Yemen, which has seen the deaths of thousands of civilians.

Groups such as Stop the War Coalition, which counts shadow home secretary Diane Abbott among their patrons, will also join anti-arms trade campaigners in Westminster.

“The Crown Prince should never have been invited to Downing Street: he leads a regime with an appalling human rights record and has overseen the destruction of Yemen. ” Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade said.

“The UK has armed and supported the terrible war since day one, and there is no doubt that arms sales will be top of the agenda next week.”

“Theresa May is putting the interests of arms dealers above the rights of Yemeni people.”

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said: “Time and time again, UK ministers have turned a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s atrocious human rights record – barely mentioning the country’s crackdown on peaceful opposition figures, or the alarming prevalence of torture, unfair trials and grisly executions. ”

“Ahead of Mohammed bin Salman’s visit, Theresa May must finally do the right thing over UK arms sales – suspending all arms exports to Saudi Arabia while there’s any risk they’ll be used by the Saudi-led coalition to bomb civilians or enforce the crippling blockade in Yemen.” Allen added.

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