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CAMPAIGNERS have renewed calls for Britain to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia after a UN report predicted that the death toll from the nation’s war on Yemen will reach 377,000 by the end of the year.
In a report published on Tuesday, the United Nations Development Programme said that 60 per cent of predicted deaths were from hunger and preventable disease, with the remaining caused by direct combat and violence.
If the conflict continues through to 2030, the UN report estimates that Yemen’s death toll could swell drastically — to 1.3 million lives lost.
The alarming predictions have triggered fresh demands for the British government to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is accused of numerous human rights violations in the neighbouring country.
Katie Fallon of Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) said: “This horrifying report is a reminder that while the war in Yemen may have fallen off the news agenda, its devastating impact on the people of Yemen is as bad as ever.
“Promises by President Biden to end support for the Saudi coalition’s role in the war have not been fulfilled, despite a welcome halt to a few arms sales. Meanwhile, the UK government continues to supply arms to Saudi Arabia without restraint.
“The UK, the US and other leading powers must immediately halt the arms sales that are prolonging and exacerbating the war.”
The conflict has triggered a humanitarian disaster in Yemen, where more than 20.7 million people — 71 per cent of the population — rely on aid to survive.
Yet earlier this year, the British government slashed foreign aid to the country by half, while authorising arms sales to Saudi Arabia to the value of £1.4 billion.
CAAT estimates that Britain has licensed more that £20bn in military supplies to the Gulf kingdom since 2015.
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