A hundred British associations condemned Saturday in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson London’s decision to almost halve its aid to Yemen, criticized even within the conservative camp.
The 101 associations, including Oxfam, Christian Aid, Save the Children and Care International, say the government has made an “error in judgment” by turning away from poor or war-stricken countries, arguing that the UK’s reputation as a will suffer.
“History will not judge this nation with benevolence if the government chooses to distance itself from the Yemeni people and thereby destroy the UK’s global reputation as a country committed to helping the most needy,” hammer the signatories.
On Monday, the UK pledged at least £ 87million (€ 100million) in aid to Yemen, against a pledge of 160million in 2020 and 200million in 2019, a move criticized including within Boris Johnson’s own Conservative majority.
“Cutting aid to Yemen – a country on the brink of famine – is a betrayal of British values and of the United Kingdom’s claim to assert world leadership,” condemned the managing director of the British branch of Oxfam, Danny Sriskandarajah.
“The reduction in aid will deprive millions of people in Yemen of a vital lifeline who cannot feed their families, have lost their homes and whose lives are threatened by conflict and Covid”, a- he said, urging Boris Johnson to stop the “immoral” arms sales that fuel the conflict in the country.
In total, the government announced in November that it would cut its international aid budget by around four billion pounds (4.6 billion euros).
According to government documents consulted by the investigation site Opendemocracy, it is the poorest countries or those most affected by conflicts that will be the most affected by the drastic drop in British aid, such as Somalia (-60%) , South Sudan (-59%), Syria (-67%), Nigeria (-58%) or the DRC (-60%).
Contacted by AFP, the Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the leaked documents. “The seismic impact of the pandemic in the UK has forced us to make difficult but necessary decisions, including temporarily reducing the overall amount of our aid,” a spokesperson said, however, adding that the government “was working yet ”on each aid program and that no“ decision had been taken ”.