Daniel Zeichner, the MP for Cambridge, presented a petition on behalf of Cambridge residents to the House of Commons last night. The petition, set up by Cambridge University Oxfam Society, calls for the Government to suspend all arms transfers to members of the Saudi coalition carrying out attacks in Yemen.

Daniel Zeichner told Parliament: “ I rise to present this Petition on the Government’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, on behalf of my constituents in Cambridge. It was set up by OxCam, the University of Cambridge’s Oxfam group, and I was approached by Thea Augustidis, the OxCam Campaigns Officer, who asked me to present this petition to Parliament, bringing this important issue to attention of MPs across the House.“

The petition states that:

“ The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that the government’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia is unacceptable, as there is substantial evidence that these arms are being used to kill innocent civilians in Yemen. This is in direct breach of the UK arms export policy, which states that the licences cannot be granted if there is a “clear risk” the arms might be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law.“

“The petitioners therefore request the House of Commons to urge the Government to:

Suspend all arms transfers to members of the Saudi coalition carrying out attacks in Yemen, including weapons, arms, munition and ammunition, parts and components and other equipment that pose a substantial risk that they could be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law in this conflict.“

Mr Zeichner comments “It’s great to be able to present this petition to Parliament, to bring this important issue to the House of Commons. I really hope that the Government are prepared to listen to concerned people in Cambridge and across the country who are outraged and devastated by what is happening in Yemen.“

Cambridge University Oxfam Society says “We have been campaigning to raise  awareness about the UK government’s role in the civil war in Yemen for several months now. Above all, we are concerned with our government selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite mounting evidence that they could be used to kill innocent civilians. When asking people in Cambridge to sign our petition, we found that many shared our concerns. Still, there are many people that don’t know about the ongoing civil war in Yemen, as it continues to be massively underreported. At a panel discussion that our society hosted in March earlier this year, BBC Correspondent Nawal Al-Maghafi explained that it is extremely difficult to get foreign journalists into the country. She described her own experiences in Yemen, where she found that one pot of powdered milk can cost up to US $40. Essentially, the Saudi coalition’s blockade has caused huge shortages of food, water and medicine which has contributed to famine and death. Our government’s implicit involvement in this conflict through arms deals is unacceptable. Together with everyone who signed our petition, we urge our politicians to stop selling British arms to Saudi Arabia.”“

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