ODVV Statement on Germany’s Decision to Halt...
In a landmark decision, the German government has announced it will halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other members of the Arab coalition countries waging war in Yemen. This is a turning point for German state to align their arm export policies with human rights norms.
Human rights advocates have successively accused Saudi Arabia of war crimes over its conduct in Yemen, where more than 5,200 civilians have been killed and 8,800 injured since Riyadh began a military campaign there in 2015. The Saudi led-coalition’s heady strikes in the last three years caused destructive consequences in the lives of ordinary people. Civilians have been the first victims of the war who have faced displacement, lost basic means of life, and watched the destruction of the urban infrastructures of their homeland. Saudi Arabia and its Arab coalition with over a 100-billion-dollar cost attacked the most impoverished country of the Middle East, Yemen, to start a huge human, economic and environmental catastrophe on the country. The repercussions of this war which is one of the most catastrophic wars in the recent decades, target civilians more than soldiers.
Still, countries including the US, UK, Canada, and France continue to make lucrative arms deals with the Saudis and other coalition members. According to figures over the last three years the British government has done over 4.6 billion pounds in arms trade with Saudi Arabia. In 2014, Saudi Arabia and Canada signed an arms deal valued at $14.8-billion. Data from 2016 sales showed 270 armoured combat vehicles were exported from France to Saudi Arabia—more than all other exports of this type combined. These figures are just a fraction of the multi-billion dollar arms trade of some countries with Saudi Arabia and its allies.
In today’s interconnected world, the responsibility of international peace and security alongside protection of human rights is the duty of all members of the international community. And this factor clashes with the continuation of the lethal arms trade and military machinery sales to warmongering countries. As a nongovernmental organization and defender of human rights and humanitarian law that actively campaigned against arm deals in the Middle East, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence call upon the members of the international community to remain committed to their international commitments towards preservation of peace and defense of human dignity. On this basis ODVV invites all countries to stop their arms trade with countries that are waging war against Yemen, to stop their participation in the human catastrophe that is taking place in Yemen, and help to dowse the flames of war and airstrikes against the defenseless people.