Human Lives Human Rights: In 2019, BBC’s Panorama programme, in a joint investigation with the Sunday Times newspaper, showed that the British army committed war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the government of this country did not take any action to punish the perpetrators of these crimes.
According to these results, actions of British soldiers against the civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq contribute to war crimes. The killing of three Afghan children and a young man in 2012 by a British special forces soldier was among the war crimes that were mentioned in this investigation, and another case that this investigation addressed was the use of violence against Iraqi prisoners by British soldiers in 2003.
Meanwhile, in February 2017, Theresa May’s government decided to end all investigations into war crimes committed by the country’s military, a decision that was criticized by non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International.
The British Ministry of Defense, which had appointed 10 special inspectors to investigate this case, demanded the end of their investigation and denied the commission of war crimes by the country’s soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2020, the International Criminal Court announced that despite finding “reasonable grounds” to believe that British forces committed war crimes during the invasion and occupation of Iraq, it will not conduct a full investigation into these crimes and Fatou Bensouda, the then chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, announced in his 180-page report that the the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting crimes lies with the UK.
This was despite the fact that up to that time England had not found them guilty even in one of the thousands of complaints against the country’s military. However, in the report of the International Criminal Court, the accusations of many cases of abuse by the British military, which could be examples of war crimes, include the killing of civilians, rape and sexual violence, cover-up of crimes, torture of prisoners, failure of organizations to report torture and war crimes, and beating of teenagers in detention centers.
Since the start of the Saudi-UAE coalition attacks on Yemen in April 2015, the UK has been providing all kinds of weapons, logistics and intelligence support to the aggressor coalition.
For this reason, the United Nations called the United Kingdom, the United States, and France complicit in war crimes in Yemen, and Melissa Park, an expert of the UN Independent Commission, said in a news conference in 2019: It is clear that the continuation of sending weapons to the parties involved in the conflict has led to the continuation of the conflict and prolonged the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the main parties of the coalition that bombards the Yemeni people every day, are among the biggest buyers of British, American and French weapons.
In a report presented to Michelle Bachelet, the head of the human rights department of this organization, UN experts stated that the legality of sending weapons by France, England, America and other countries is questionable.
Recently, Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the Labor Party and the current member of the British Parliament, was strongly criticized after the attack by the aggressor coalition of Saudi Arabia on a prison in Saada province of Yemen, which, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, left more than 100 dead and wounded. The positions of the British government towards Saudi Arabia and the war in Yemen, are strongly criticized and the UK is considered complicit in the crimes of the Saudi coalition.
Owen Jones, the columnist of the British newspaper “The Guardian”, in an article referring to the recent scandals of the British government in holding a party in the midst of Corona restrictions, wrote that our government is directly complicit with these atrocities. This is a far greater scandal than the parties in Downing Street. In a just world, it would prove the downfall of our prime minister.
According to the newspaper, For seven years, a Saudi-led coalition has been pummelling the impoverished country with bombs, many of them supplied by Britain. Through our staunch military alliance with the Saudi dictatorship, our government is directly complicit with these atrocities.
According to an investigation by the UK campaign group, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), BAE systems has sold £17.6bn worth of arms and military services to the Saudi dictatorship since 2015, while the company has 6,700 members of staff posted in Saudi Arabia. Thanks to a judicial review brought by CAAT in 2019, the court of appeal found that the British government’s decision to keep licensing military equipment to Saudi Arabia was unlawful, but the government resumed arms sales after arguing only “isolated incidents” of airstrikes violated humanitarian law.
Britain continues to arm and back the Saudi war effort, which slashed its humanitarian aid to Yemen by half in 2021, while the World Food Programme warns it cannot feed Yemenis properly because of funding shortfalls.
It should be noted that the British government, like other Western governments such as the United States, is always using human rights tools for its own benefit. That is, in the circumstances when it finds is necessary, it uses this tool against its opposing governments, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, and when it comes to the interests, it does not adhere to any legal principles and human rights, despite all its democratic and legal claims, and it easily violates the rights and dignity of people anywhere in the world.
This set of behavior and actions on the part of the British government has existed for the past few centuries. In about two hundred and thirty years, by clearly violating the right of destiny of the people of India, it colonized this great country and subjected it to economic exploitation and looting. Any protest movement of Indians was suppressed in the most severe way possible.
By creating drought and hunger in Bangladesh, it deliberately killed hundreds of thousands of people in this country. By violating the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, it supported the formation of a Jewish state in the Arab lands of this country. It colonized South Africa for many years and then supported the racist apartheid regime in this country for several decades. The British government was one of the main founders of the slave trade from Africa to Europe and the Americas during the 18th and 19th centuries. Racist ideas are still very strong in England and its white citizens violate the rights of other racial, ethnic and religious minorities.
These cases are just a very brief summary of the cases of human rights violations by the British government that it has done in different parts of the world over the centuries.
However, from any perspective, when looked upon the human rights contradictions in the UK, it is observed that the British government itself is one of the main violators of the human rights, and uses this as a tool to advance its political goals and interests.