Why Silhouettes of Children Are Appearing All Over London
The small child is staring up at the sky for a heartbreaking reason.
Eagle-eyed Londoners might have spotted silhouettes of small children cropping up at iconic landmarks in the capital this week.
The mysterious images show a small child, wearing a rucksack, and staring up at the sky.
The hashtag #DontBombChildren that appears underneath the silhouette is the only clue about the heartbreaking reason for the posters.
It’s all part of a campaign by Save the Children to mark the arrival of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince in the UK, in protest agains the bombing of children in Yemen.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman landed in London on Wednesday for the start of a three-day official visit that includes Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.
But Save said it launched the campaign as “a reminder of the dangers that Yemeni children face every day and the risks of British-made bombs fuelling the violence."
As well as the silhouettes, a life-size statue of a Yemeni child has also been unveiled outside parliament — after it was photographed at Tower Bridge, Camden Market, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.
Today, while Saudi Crown Prince #MBS is in London, dozens of children in #Yemen will die of hunger, disease and bombing.— Caroline Anning (@CarolineAnning) March 7, 2018
Recent UN report found Saudi airstrikes on civilians violate rules of war.
Government must raise this instead of signing more arms deals #dontbombchildrenpic.twitter.com/wXz3hmsX25
Those locations were chosen as symbolic of the playgrounds, hospitals, schools, and markets where children are being killed and injured in Yemen.
More than 10,000 people, including 1,600 children, have died as a direct result of the war waged by Saudi Arabia on Yemen — which is now entering its fourth year — according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).
In this year’s annual Children and Armed Conflict report, the UN named the Saudi-led coalition for committing grave violations against children, an area which Global Citizen campaigned on.
The situation in Yemen has become so severe that the UN last year described it as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. According to a report released in January, 17 million people are facing acute food insecurity.
I live in a 50s house on a row of Victorian terraces because a bomb was dropped during the WW2 wiping out ordinary families here. Children now safely and happily play on my street, but 1 in 6 kids still live in war zones #dontbombchildrenpic.twitter.com/sMpJWlxjgf— Alice Fuller (@AliceFuller) March 5, 2018
“We are extremely clear what we’re asking for,” said James Denselow, head of conflict and humanitarian policy, at Save the Children.
“We want Saudi Arabia to obey the rules of war, to stop killing civilians in Yemen, and to abandon a failed military strategy in favour of working towards a political solution,” he said.
“Britain is providing welcome and life-saving aid to Yemen — but it also provides diplomatic cover,” he continued. “It is time for the government to use this diplomatic relationship to push for an end to the conflict — and to demand our allies stop bombing children.”
Denselow said that everyone involved in the conflict — including the Saudi-led coalition, the Houthis, the Yemen government, and everyone involve in the fighting “must come to the table and start to work for a negotiated peace.”
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement that May will “raise deep concerns at the humanitarian situation” in Yemen with bin Salman.
As part of his visit, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, as well as being hosted by Prince Charles at a dinner. He is also jointly hosting with Theresa May the inaugural UK-Saudi strategic partnership council in No.10.
Bin Salman will then be visiting Cairo and New York, in his first foreign tour as heir to the Saudi throne.
The Crown Prince has been hailed as a progressive, youthful heir, following recent steps towards gender equality in the country — including allowing Saudi women to drive cars, as well as going to the cinema and attending sporting events.
May said in the statement after bin Salman's visit to Downing Street that the UK would support efforts to “intensify these reforms, particularly on women’s rights, and on universal human rights.”
Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on achieving peace. You can join us by taking action here.