Company’s weapons are responsible for famine in Yemen
Boston, May 5 — Waltham arms manufacturer Raytheon, a major corporate sponsor of Project Bread, was a no-show at the organization’s Walk for Hunger today, an event aimed at raising funds to fight hunger in the Commonwealth.
“Raytheon’s weapons, bombs, missiles, and other indiscriminate weapons of destruction, have been used relentlessly on the civilian population of Yemen over the course of it’s civil war,” said activist Alex Plowden. “The result has been what the UN calls the ‘worst humanitarian crisis in the world’, with 18 million Yemeni civilians pushed to the brink of starvation by Saudi and UAE bombings of hospitals, schools, water treatment plants, agricultural infrastructure, and other non-military targets. ”
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) joined 25 participants in the Yemen Anti-Famine team in supporting the Walk for Hunger and calling for Raytheon to end its arms sales to Saudi Arabia. McGovern is the sponsor of HR.643, a bill that would cut off U.S. security cooperation and arms sales with Saudi Arabia over the Yemen war and Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the murder of dissident Saudi journalist, and Washington Post writer, Jamal Khashoggi in October.
“Given Raytheon’s role in creating these conditions of famine, anti-war and peace groups—including Massachusetts Peace Action, the Raytheon Anti-War Campaign, American Friends Service Committee, Veterans for Peace, Friends Meeting at Cambridge, and the Coalition to Stop the Genocide in Yemen—have asked the organizers of the Walk for Hunger to reject Raytheon’s disingenuous sponsorship of the Walk, said Paul Shannon of the Raytheon Anti-War Campaign, and organizer of the Yemen Anti-Famine Team in the Walk.
“Raytheon didn’t show up today because their behavior cannot be justified,” said Brian Garvey of Massachusetts Peace Action. “Raytheon’s sponsoring the Walk for Hunger at the same time the company is a leading enabler of famine and human suffering in Yemen through its arms sales and close relationship with Saudi war criminals, is the height of hypocrisy,” Garvey continued.
“Raytheon is playing a major role in creating famine and starvation in war-torn Yemen,” said team coordinator Paul Shannon of the Raytheon Anti-War Campaign. “The war on Yemen is currently being waged by a Saudi and U.A.E.-led coalition, supported by the US government and weapons manufacturers, including Raytheon, and the war has caused a famine and cholera epidemic that have created the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe. Parts of Raytheon bombs have been documented at a number of civilian targets and the company’s Paveway bombs continue to wreak havoc on Yemenis.”
Officials of Project Bread, organizer of the Walk for Hunger, have agreed to meet to discuss these matters after the Walk.
The war in Yemen has drawn widespread condemnation from international human rights groups and United Nations agencies. The United Nations World Food Programme stated that “Yemen is undeniably the world’s worst humanitarian crisis by far” and estimated that as many as 18 million people are at risk of famine. A study done by the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University concluded that these conditions were the direct result of the coalition’s strategy of targeting food and water infrastructure in the country. Last year, an analysis issued by Save the Children estimated that 85,000 children under age five have likely died from starvation or disease since the Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen.
Since 2015, the Saudi-led coalition has targeted factories, roads, bridges, hospitals, wells, funerals, weddings, gatherings entirely of women and school buses full of children. Yemeni group, Mwatana for Human Rights, investigated 27 of the unlawful attacks that occurred from April 2015 to April 2018 and found that 13 of them involved munitions made by Raytheon.
Both the U.S. House and Senate this year passed a resolution to end U.S. military involvement in the Yemen war, but the measure was vetoed by President Trump. On Thursday, the Senate failed to override the veto; Congressional opponents of the war pledged to respond by initiating additional legislative action.
Raytheon currently derives five percent of its revenue from business with the government of Saudi Arabia and recently announced that it would expand the 50-year partnership between the company and Saudi Arabia by establishing “Raytheon Saudi Arabia.”
“As long as Raytheon continues to support the disastrous war on Yemen, it will continue to cause hunger,” said Shannon. “What hypocrisy for them to sponsor the Walk for Hunger at the same time they sponsor hunger in Yemen.”