The international community has failed in Yemen. They have not done enough to stop the atrocities and human rights violations. That is also true for Syria, says Karman. In the Arab Spring people took to the streets to fight for freedom, democracy and justice. But they have been left alone. To bring peace and justice to the region it is not sufficient to just stop selling arms to dictators. The tyrants brutally repressing their people should also be brought to court. They should be held accountable for their crimes.
Tawakkol Karman, journalist and political activist. In 2011 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for democracy in the Arab Spring.
David Goessmann: What is the humanitarian situation for the civilians on the ground in Yemen right now? And what is Saudi Arabia doing? I mean, we have the reports that Saudi Arabia is bombing indiscriminately hospitals and also civilians in Yemen. Your take on that.
Tawakkol Karman: The humanitarian situation is very bad in Yemen because it’s the result of war. It was very bad under the rule of ousted President Ali Saleh, under the rule of the dictator. Because of that we make the war, the peaceful revolution against him. And now it’s worse because of the war that was started by the ousted President Ali Saleh. The civilians are now victims of this war. Yes, we should talk about the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen that attacked the civilians. That is very true to talk about that. That’s very true to criticize that. But also we should also focus on the crimes that happened by the Al Houthi and by the ousted President Ali Saleh, with the backing of Iran. So it is not fair to speak about the rule of the Arab coalition led by Saudis attacking civilians without talking about the same rule that happened from militia of Al Houthi and Ali Saleh. That is very important and here I am calling media to talk about that, to focus also on what are the crimes that happened in Yemen – Iran supports them. They support them to topple Yemen, to topple the republic. Now we have tens of thousands of people that have disappeared under the militia of Al Houthi and Ali Saleh. They occupied Yemen, they occupied the capital. So yes, we are victims, victims of this war. We are victims of first the Iranians interfering in Yemen, who supported the ousted President Ali Saleh and the militia of Al Houthi to make revenge against Yemenis, and we are victims of the Arab coalition with the Saudis who attacked the civilians in this war, because they supported President Hadi as a legitimate president to return to Yemen. So we criticize them for killing civilians more than anything else.
David Goessmann: What is the role of the United States in this conflict? I mean, they are delivering weapons to Saudi Arabia, as Germany does. The United States is targeting people in Yemen via drones in the so-called War on Terror. Relatives of US drone victims tried to sue Germany in court. Germany holds the military base where the satellite navigation of the drones is operated. Your comment on the responsibility of the US and to some extent Germany as well, with regard to conflict and casualties in Yemen?
Tawakkol Karman: Look, if we talk about the role of the United States we should talk about the role of all the international community who didn’t do their role on helping people in their struggle for freedom and justice and democracy. Unfortunately they let the tyrants kill people inside their countries. For example what’s happening in Syria. They didn’t help the Syrian people in their just battle against the dictator Bashar al-Assad. So the international community didn’t really – crime against humanity when they are silent against crimes that came from the dictators against – the Bashar al-Assad or Ali Saleh. They are criminals, so they have to stop them. They have to put them in jail. The international criminal court should try them. The international community should freeze their assets, should take their assets and return them to the people. So the crimes around the world are increasing because of the absence of the international community. This is from one hand, from other hand also the nuclear agreement from this conference we call from, to stop nuclear process in the countries who want to work on nuclear missiles. But also we said that it must not – to give them a prize, so to encourage some country to stop their nuclear agreement, why give them other prize that is, you know, to kill people. For example, what’s happened with Iran, when they stopped – when they made the deal with Iran to stop its nuclear agreement. They give help, the prize, which is to control or to spread its hands on the Arab peninsula. And that is not fair. People are threatened for their freedom. The United States was the leader in this agreement. They sell us as slaves while our people are in the streets, calling for their freedom and justice. And from other hand, any kind of selling heavy weapons to any dictator, any totalitarian – sorry for my English. I am totally against selling weapons to tyrants. But also, I’m telling you to not just stop giving them the weapons. Also try them. Don’t let them kill people. Why are they silent against the crimes, officially. They just talk! It’s just talk. And why they are silent about the crimes of Ali Saleh and the militia of Al Houthi? So this is a very important thing. So yes, stop selling weapons to any dictatorial regime, but also any regime that is killing people, they have to stop them, directly.