Recently, Jamal Khashoggi’s horrific death has meant that the UK-Saudi relationship has come under scrutiny; unfortunately much more than the scrutiny that has come with the death and destruction of the lives of millions in Yemen, and the ongoing human rights abuses for those living and working in Saudi Arabia and those affected by Saudi Arabia’s international policies. On the 19th November, we co-hosted an event on ‘Saudi-British relations: silenced oppressions & complicity’.
With a focus on the effect on Yemenis and Bahrainis (Saudi’s role abroad), as well as on women, migrants, political dissidents and human rights defenders, the event covered Saudi’s role in oppression and repression domestically and beyond its borders. Whilst speakers spoke on how a Saudi-UK relationship is contributing to horrific consequences, we discussed why different oppressions are empathised with, why others are ignored, and crucially how we as students, organisers and members of the public can work in addressing our complicity and ending a horrific relationship in our attempt at showing solidarity.
We were honoured to be joined by Radhya and Ameen on the 19th:
Radhya Almutawakel (@RAlmutawakel) – a human rights defender and the Yemeni co-founder and chairperson of Mwatana Organisation For Human Rights, an independent organisation working to defend and protect human rights in Yemen. Radhya joined us via video and you can see her short talk below.
This event was hosted and supported by Demilitarise King’s, KCL Intersectional Feminist Society, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), CAAT Universities Network, MENA Solidarity, SOAS UNISON.
In light of the recent reports on the 85 000 children under 5yrs that have died of starvation in Yemen since the war started, the reports of torture and sexual harassment of detained activists in Saudi, the decision by the Saudi government to deport scores of Rohingya refugees against their will, and the role of Saudi in repression in Bahrain (particularly in light of recent ‘elections’ whilst opposition parties are imprisoned) to name a few issues, it is crucial for us to work and organise to #StopArmingSaudi.
For students at KCL, check out Demilitarise King’s to learn how to get involved in demilitarisation on campus.
To get involved in demilitarisation of our public spaces and society, and stopping the arms trade – visit the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) webpage, twitter (@CAATuk) and facebook! there’s lots to get involved in like stopping the 2019 DSEI Arms Fair, or showing support at our court case in April. You can also write to your MP and sign our petition to #StopArmingSaudi
We set this event up before Israa Al-Ghomgham’s trial which had been adjourned to the 21st November. She could be the first female human rights activist to be executed in Saudi. Israa, however, didn’t turn up to the trial on the 21st whilst others that were part of the mass trial did, and it is unknown why. The next court case is due to take place on the 19th January 2019. Write to your MP expressing her immediate release, and the release of all human right defenders detained, and to #StopArmingSaudi. You can follow Israa’s case, by following the twitter page that has been set up for her (@IsraaAlGhomgham – https://twitter.com/IsraaAlGhomgham).