Plan International Australia calls for end to Australian weapons exports to Yemen, welcomes aid

Plan International Australia is calling for an end to Australian defence exports to any parties involved in the conflict in Yemen, after the Australian government pledged $10 million in aid to the humanitarian crisis. 

The Australian government pledged $10 million in humanitarian aid at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen yesterday. 

Governments have so far pledged a total of US$2.6 billion dollars, which is significantly below the US$4.2 billion needed for the crisis – some 80 per cent of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance, after years of conflict. 

It comes after the government confirmed in Senate Estimates last week that it was continuing to support Australian defence exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Both countries are embroiled in the conflict – Saudi Arabia led the nine-nation coalition that began military operations against the former government in Yemen on March 26, 2015.

Plan International Australia CEO Susanne Legena welcomed the Australian Government’s $10 million commitment, noting that it is triple last year’s contribution. 

“At the same time, it’s disappointing that Australia's contribution is still significantly lower than other wealthy donors – Australia should be giving generously in line with other wealthy states and in line with the increased humanitarian need,” said Ms Legena. 

Ms Legena said Australia’s pledge of aid was also at risk of being undermined by the continuation of Australian defence exports to parties involved in the conflict. 

“It’s deeply hypocritical to be offering support to the millions of children in dire need in Yemen with one hand, and allowing in tanks and guns with the other,” said Ms Legena. 

“The humanitarian crisis in Yemen in the worst in the world – tens of thousands have been killed and more than half the population is on the brink of famine.”

Ms Legena said the government should immediately cease in allowing defence exports to parties involved in the conflict in Yemen. 

“The government must uphold our international obligations and put the interests of Yemen’s children first.”

“The international community should not expect peace while still fuelling this conflict with military supplies – ultimately, aid is not a long term solution, the people of Yemen need peace.”

About Plan International 

Plan International is a global independent development and humanitarian organisation. We champion girls’ rights because we know that there is nowhere in the world where girls are treated as equals. We work alongside children, young people, supporters and partners to tackle the root causes of injustices facing girls and the most marginalised children.

Plan International works in more than 75 countries to help create a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Our local office, Plan International Australia funds programs to support children in more than 25 countries, as well as sponsorship programs across the federation.