UK and US must stop weapons supply to Yemen – Amnesty

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The West needs to stop supplying weapons to fighters in the Yemen conflict, Amnesty International urged, after reports that arms are ending up with extremists.

“The proliferation of unaccountable” militias in Yemen, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is “worsening the humanitarian crisis and posing a growing threat to the civilian population,” Amnesty research Patrick Wilcken said.

British and American weapons have also ended up with al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) militants, he added.

Mr Wilcken was referencing recent reports by the Amman-based Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism.

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UK and US must stop weapons supply to Yemen - Amnesty



An estimated 85,000 children under the age of five may have starved to death

The Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE, has been at war in Yemen with Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since 2015.

Last August it was revealed that deals had been struck to pass weapons and cash from the coalition to al Qaeda-linked militants fighting alongside them against the rebels.

UK and US must stop weapons supply to Yemen - Amnesty
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Yemenis gather at a UN aid distribution centre in Hodeidah
UK and US must stop weapons supply to Yemen - Amnesty
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The UN says up to 14 million people are facing famine

Britain and the US have continued to supply weapons to the coalition while Germany, the Netherlands and Norway have restricted arms deals to members.

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At least 10,000 people have died in the civil war, more than three million have been displaced, 14 million have been brought to the brink of famine and led to mass child malnutrition and the return of cholera.

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UK and US must stop weapons supply to Yemen - Amnesty



UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, says issues have to be addressed quickly

Peace talks that restarted in Sweden last year have not amounted to much, with agreed meetings in Jordan about a prisoner exchange between the Houthi rebels and Yemeni government yet to happen.

Each side is requesting more prisoners than the other claims to be holding.

UK and US must stop weapons supply to Yemen - Amnesty
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Yemen FM and the rebel leader shake hands at 2018 UN peace talks
UK and US must stop weapons supply to Yemen - Amnesty
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A Houthi militant sits guard on the roof of a building in Sanaa

Houthi Abder Qader al Murtada said his side are holding Emirati and Saudi war prisoners and they want 7,500 Houthis in exchange.

The two sides are not meeting face to face in Jordan but are talking through UN mediators.

The UN is also meeting with the two sides on a ship moored off Yemen’s Red Sea coast in an attempt to agree a proposal for a Houthi withdrawal from Hodeida, the strategic port city with a door to the country’s north.