France: Leaked military documents underscore need to end flow of arms to Yemen conflict
Responding to leaked classified French military documents published today by investigative news site Disclose, highlighting the widespread use of French weapons in the conflict in Yemen, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said:
“These leaked documents provide clear evidence that French military equipment supplied to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is being widely used in the conflict in Yemen.
“Despite overwhelming evidence, Western arms supplied to the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led Coalition are being used to commit or facilitate possible war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, states such as France have shamelessly flouted their international obligations by continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in violation of the Arms Trade Treaty.
“Amnesty International’s repeated calls on the French Ministry of Defence to be transparent about French arms transfers since the conflict began have fallen on deaf ears.
“The information made public today should spur the French government to immediately suspend all arms transfers that could be used by any of the warring parties in Yemen – once and for all.”
A recent investigation by Amnesty International analysing open-source information around the battle for Hodeidah identified French-manufactured Leclerc tanks that had been transferred to the UAE were among the military equipment used. According to open-source information, the UAE has diverted similar military equipment, such as vehicles, to unaccountable UAE-backed militias.
Amnesty International has previously verified the use of French- supplied CAESAR truck-mounted Howitzers on the border between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
According to the UN, there has been a surge in hostilities in governorates bordering Saudi Arabia that has led to an increase in civilian casualties in the past three months and an influx of internally displaced people. According to the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, border districts in northern Yemen and areas in and around Hodeidah have been the most heavily impacted by daily artillery fire that has hit houses and farms. So far in 2019, shelling has caused 62% of damage to civilian properties in Sa’da alone, while air strikes have been responsible for 27%.
More than a quarter of a million people have signed Amnesty International’s petitioncalling on their governments to immediately stop arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and UAE.