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#SaudiPrinceNotWelcome – Our Open Letter

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, principal architect of the war on Yemen which has devastated the country and caused what the UN has called a “humanitarian catastrophe”, has been invited to the UK. On 25th January, Lucie Kinchin from CAAT joined with representatives from other NGOs and human rights organisations to hand in an open letter to say he is not welcome here.

Protesters outside Downing Street

Demonstrators outside Downing Street

Mohammad Bin Salman has been in charge of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. Using UK-made arms, Saudi Arabian forces have destroyed schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure. The devastation has caused thousands of deaths including those of children, widespread famine, and the worst cholera epidemic in recorded history.

Since the beginning of the bombing nearly three years ago, £4.6bn of arms sales to Saudi Arabia have been licensed. Theresa May has invited him to the UK to cosy up and secure even more arms sales. We have to say: This is Not OK. Stop Arming Saudi Arabia.

Bin Salman promotes himself as a liberalising force on the world stage, but this is done to hide the terrible human rights abuses that his regime is inflicting every day against Saudi people. That is why Amnesty International has said that:

“Mohamed Bin Salman is determined to silence civil society and human rights defenders in the Kingdom.

The crackdown on members of the human rights community has continued unabated, with almost all the country’s most prominent human rights defenders now behind bars. These actions, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, fly in the face of his recently declared ambitions to modernize the Kingdom.”

Poll after poll has shown that the overwhelming majority of the UK public opposes May’s uncritical political and military support for the regime. If the cancellation of the Trump visit tells us anything, it’s that campaigning can work.

Two people stand outside 10 Downing Street. One has short brown hair and is wearing a suit. The other wears a black hijab and a green coat.

Lucie Kinchin from CAAT and Kim Sharif from Human Rights for Yemen hand in the open letter at 10 Downing Street

On 25th January, CAAT joined NGOs and human rights organisations including Human Rights for Yemen, Stop the War, Arab Organisation for Human Rights UK, Global Justice Now, Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, and War on Want to hand in a letter to Theresa May. We were there to say loud and clear that the Saudi Prince is not welcome.

Want to get involved?

Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit dates have been confirmed as 7-9th March. Join us outside Downing Street at 5.30pm on 7th March.

Sign our petition to tell Theresa May: the Saudi Crown Prince is not welcome!

Take two minutes to email your MP to ask them to speak out.

Our open letter

Withdraw invitation to Saudi Crown Prince

The undersigned organisations and individuals urge the prime minister Theresa May to withdraw the invitation to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to visit Britain. Bin Salman is the second most senior member of the Saudi regime, which has one of the worst human rights records in the world. Torture, arbitrary detention, and other appalling abuses are widely documented. In 2017 alone, Saudi authorities executed over 100 people.

The Crown Prince has overseen the war on Yemen, creating tens of thousands of deaths and injuries. He has created, in the words of the UN, “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world”. British made jets and bombs have played a major role in destroying civilian targets and the poor nation’s infrastructure. UK personnel, from the armed forces and BAE Systems, are present in the Saudi operations centre, aiding this catastrophe.

The Saudi regime has also supported repression in other states, notably Bahrain where its military supported the crackdown on peaceful protestors in 2011. Recently, the Crown Prince has established a blockade of Qatar, and held the prime minister of Lebanon in custody. Both of these latter acts were failed attempts to impose regime change on sovereign nations.

It shames us as a nation to support and associate with a brutal dictator who uses hunger as a weapon, and has allowed the largest cholera epidemic in history to develop in Yemen. The interests of the people of Britain, and the peoples suffering from the Crown Prince’s adventurism, are not served by this visit. The invitation must be withdrawn.

Signatories:

Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK)
Bahrain Institute for Human Rights
Bahrain Opposition Block
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
Global Justice Now
Human Rights for Yemen
Iraqi Democrats
Sheba for Democracy and Human Rights
Stop the War Coalition
War on Want

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