Press release
New report shows complicity of European states in war in Yemen

A report published today by the peace organisation Vredesactie shows the full extent of European arms exports to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. The war has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and has been mostly sustained by European and American weapons. The report shows how European states have systematically violated their own arms export control systems in order to keep arms transfers going.

Read the full report here.

The war in Yemen has been raging for more than four years and has been called by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The war has directly cost the life of almost 100.000 people and has destroyed a large part of the economic infrastructure of Yemen. Many more have died due to diseases and famine which are consequences of the conflict.

The new report “War in Yemen, made in Europe” by the Belgian peace organisation Vredesactie shows to which extent European states are involved in arming the Saudi-led coalition which has committed war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law. The report documents the use of European weapons in the land, air and naval war, ranging from surveillance technology, tanks, fighter jets to war vessels.

EU governments don’t respect their own rules

“The sale of weapons to the actors in the Yemeni civil war stands in stark contrast with the EU’s rules and policies regarding human rights and arms exports”, says Hans Lammerant, author of the report. “The rules are nevertheless clear. Both the Arms Trade Treaty and the EU Common Position prohibit issuing export licenses when there is a clear risk that weapons could be used to violate international humanitarian law.”

The report documents hundreds of European arms companies that have been involved in supplying parts and components for weapon systems used in the war in Yemen. “The arms industry has become increasingly European. There are barely any weapons which have been produced by companies from only one country”, Lammerant says. “This has fundamental consequences for the ability of European states to individually control the export of arms.”

At the same time the divergence in arms export controls underlines how EU member states have been undermining the EU Common Position. “The Common Position may be a common legally binding framework, but in practice is far from common.”, says Lammerant. “The logical conclusion is that compliance with the rules of the Common Position has to be made enforceable towards the Member states and and other actors need to get the possibility to ensure this enforcement.”

Press contact
Hans Lammerant: | +32 486 60 97 06
The full report is available here