A SCOTLAND-WIDE environmental charity has been urged to drop “greenwashed” money from an arms firm by New Scots from a country under siege from its products.

Fighting in Yemen has now raged for almost eight years. According to UN estimates, it’s claimed 377,000 lives through bombings and drone attacks, hunger and disease.

Children amount to around 70% of those killed and Amnesty International and others say they’ve uncovered evidence of war crimes carried out as a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf states battles Houthi rebels who are supported by Iran.

BAE Systems, one of the world’s largest arms manufacturers, counts Saudi Arabia as one of its biggest markets. According to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), its Typhoon and Tornado aircraft “have been central to Saudi Arabia’s devastating attacks on Yemen – attacks that have killed thousands and created a humanitarian disaster”.

It’s also been involved in providing training and support to the Saudi personnel using the aircraft.

The National: File photo dated 30/9/2021 of The Armadillo and Exhibition Halls on the Scottish Event Campus alongside the River Clyde in Glasgow, which will host the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (Cop26) next month. Issue date: Wednesday October 27,

The corporate giant also has bases in Glasgow and recently announced it is extending its partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, announcing a £100,000 donation for its campaign to clean up plastic pollution on the River Clyde and its tributaries.

The United Yemeni Community in Scotland (UYCS) has slammed the deal, accused Keep Scotland Beautiful of involvement in “greenwashing” and urged the charity to cut ties with its sponsor.

Dr Shawki al-Dubaee, an academic who fled Yemen in 2015, told The National: “The dirty money for the greenwashing, we will not accept that. We are not the people who will be silent.”

Al-Dubaee was on staff at Taiz University, where he taught a number of courses related to computer engineering and machine learning. That brought him into contact with Edinburgh Napier University, which had a memorandum of understanding with Taiz University, and he saw Scotland as a safe place to bring his family.

He’s now helped in the formation of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland at Inchinnan on the banks of the Clyde. UYCS is a means to help Yemenis in Scotland integrate into Scotland while also retaining cultural links and traditions.

Its members make up around half of Scotland’s small Yemeni population, which is estimated at around 300 people.

Al-Dubaee has ambitions of making this a net-zero community and supports Keep Scotland Beautiful’s work.

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The organisation, he says, is undertaking climate action itself and does not want to get into politics after escaping from a highly politicised conflict, which has seen the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi pushed out by the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore this.

UYCS, which supports the February 2011 revolution, says that has become a “proxy war” between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Al-Dubaee argues that it’s unethical for the eco-charity to take money from an arms firm whose products are causing destruction, harming the environment and taking human lives.

He said: “Because Keep Scotland Beautiful is an environmental charity who have and continue to support social justice aims and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, I would argue the organisational aims and objectives are clearly at odds with a weapons manufacturer.

“It is worth noting that the weapons trade is one of the industries that are set to profit from climate crisis because of increased global conflict, so they are a company that benefits from more environmental problems. Therefore, there is a clear conflict of interest.”

He added: “We are here in the UK because of this weapons maker.

“We stayed under a bad regime for a long time and we know exactly what a double standard is.”

Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Upstream Battle campaign aims to raise awareness of marine litter and “inspire action” to improve the problem in Strathclyde. Barry Fisher, its chief executive officer, said the charity was “delighted to welcome this significant funding from BAE Systems” at the time of its announcement.

Responding to the criticism, the charity said: “We acknowledge and respect the views expressed.

“Keep Scotland Beautiful, like many Scottish charities, has developed links with, and secured funding from, a wide variety of private sector organisations.

“These businesses understand their responsibilities to the environment and are already taking action on sustainability within their own organisations – they support us by providing volunteers, assistance with campaigns and funding for specific activities.

“By working with these businesses on specific activities we have increased our ability to make a real difference in communities across Scotland – their assistance has enabled us to reach new audiences, fund innovative solutions to environmental problems and support action by local communities to deal with issues that affect their daily lives.”

A BAE Systems spokesperson said: “We provide defence equipment, training and support under government-to-government agreements between the UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “We comply with all relevant export control laws and regulations in the countries in which we operate and our activities are subject to UK Government approval and oversight.”