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TENS of thousands of supporters have backed one of Save The Children’s biggest ever campaigns, urging an end to British arms deals with the Saudi government.
Public figures such as actor Joely Richardson and TV presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, both ambassadors for the charity, have signed a petition for an immediate suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and to ensure humanitarian access to children in Yemen.
The petition, marking the third anniversary of the escalation of the Yemen conflict, has more than 60,000 signatures and will be delivered to the Foreign Office.
Ms Richardson implored Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to “save the children of Yemen.”
She said: “We shouldn’t be selling arms towards anyone that would bomb children and civilians.
“The point is that it’s year three of a war and that there are 17 million people who are being starved, experiencing famine, cholera, and air strikes.
“It’s a terrible situation, but I’m here specifically to save the children. Children shouldn’t be victims of war.”
Save The Children’s Jack Madden said it is one of the largest campaign petitions the charity has ever had. “It’s because people feel so strongly about what the government are doing and feel strongly about what’s happening to children in Yemen,” he said.
Mr Madden said more needs to be done to make sure that humanitarian and commercial goods are let into the country and that people who have committed violations against children are held to account in Yemen.
“The Foreign Secretary can suspend weapon sales to Saudi Arabia to help stop fuelling the conflict and to make sure that we maintain funding and access for aid into the country in order to help rebuild children’s lives in Yemen,” he said.
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT’s) Andrew Smith said: “Yemen has endured three years of destruction, but the arms sales haven’t stopped.”
Mr Smith said that as the war enters its fourth year, the humanitarian crisis is only getting worse.
“Theresa May and her colleagues must end their shameful complicity in the destruction.
“If the government wants to do the right thing for the people of Yemen, then it must stop arming and supporting the brutal Saudi regime,” he said.
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