Barry Holliday condemns the Saudi-led airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Yemen

Nottingham Lib Dem spokesperson Barry Holliday condemns the Saudi-led airstrike on Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Hospital in Abs, Yemen

The Liberal Democrats have always passionately supported international humanitarian law; in which it states that it is a war crime to deliberately attack a hospital or other medical unit, whether it is civilian or military, due to their special protected status.

All parties in the Yemen conflict have been repeatedly given the GPS location information for the hospital in Abs by MSF. However, despite this an MSF hospital was struck recently on 15th August, by the Saudi coalition forces. Eleven people were killed, including an MSF staff member, and a further 19 were injured. This horrific act took place less than 48 hours after the Saudi coalition struck a school killing 10 children.

Barry said “This attack is abhorrent, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It could constitute a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law. I urge total transparency from Saudi led coalition forces in the coming months. We cannot accept that this horrific loss of life could be dismissed by those responsible.”

The hospital has treated 4,600 people since July 2015, and MSF supports an emergency room and maternity unit [source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-37083035] in the hospital. At the time of the airstrike there were 23 patients in surgery, 25 in the maternity ward, 13 new-born infants and 12 other children in the hospital. Meanwhile, King Salman of Saudi Arabia rewarded all military personnel involved in the Yemen campaign by giving them all an additional month’s salary.

Barry continued “I call for the Prime Minister, to condemn this attack and to suspend arms sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia while a full independent international investigation in to this alleged war crime takes place, and those responsible are held to account under international law.

In addition, I call on all Yemeni warring parties to respect civilians, health facilities, and medical staff, as required under International Humanitarian Law.”

As a result of this attack MSF have announced they will be evacuating it’s staff from all hospitals in northern Yemen as it cannot get assurances that it’s hospitals would not be bombed again.

More info:

Doctors without borders statement – http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/yemen-airstrike-msf-supported-hospital-kills-least-11-wounds-least-19

Tim Farron MP condems attack – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/15/saudi-led-air-strike-yemen-hospital-kills-at-least-seven

MSF pulling out their staff – http://www.muslimpress.com/Section-world-news-16/105574-doctors-without-borders-is-pulling-staff-after-hospital-bombings-in-yemen

Nottingham Lib Dems condemn similar attack in Afghanistan – http://nottinghamlibdems.org.uk/en/article/2015/1116201/nottingham-city-liberal-democrats-condemn-the-u-s-led-air-strike-on-doctors-without-borders-msf-hospital-in-kunduz-afghanistan

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“City Council must stop shifting the blame and take action over hate crimes” Says Barry Holliday

Nottingham Liberal Democrats have challenged the City Council on a shocking lack of consideration for LGBT people in the city after the council “named and shamed” a local LGBT venue for being dangerous.

(Source: Nottingham Post article – http://www.nottinghampost.com/nottingham-s-three-most-dangerous-bars-threatened-with-closure-in-crackdown-on-violence/story-29417002-detail/story.html posted; 18th June.)

The City Council released a list of “dangerous bars” in June and listed local LGBT-friendly venue “Propaganda” as the most dangerous in the city, despite evidence that several incidents at the bar were hate crimes.

Speaking at this weekend’s Nottingham Pride celebrations, Nottingham Lib Dem Vice Chair, Barry Holliday said:

“How can people feel safe when the root of the problem is brushed aside, just so the council can wag its finger at a local venue? LGBT people, like anyone else, should be able to have a night out and feel safe. Dealing with hate crime is the way to do that – not by stigmatising a specific venue. Yet they have chosen not to address this real issue at all, and certainly not in their ill-considered naming and shaming exercise.

The Lib Dems will always stand up for the rights of all people. No individual should feel threatened in our city just because of who they love. That is why we are the party that introduced equal marriage when we were in government, and have pushed for equality for all since our founding.

You don’t make things better by shaming a venue used by the LGBT community. You make things better by engaging with businesses and individuals. The Liberal Democrats will continue to lead the fight for a better quality of life for all LGBT people.”

The Liberal Democrats had a presence at Nottingham Pride over the weekend and held a stall calling for greater access to PrEP treatment. PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is the use of a prescription anti-HIV drug that can prevent an individual from contracting HIV. Increased use of PrEP has the potential to reduce infection rates, not only saving lives but also money.

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