Airbus Spain arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE 'may have contributed to war crimes in Yemen'
Arms transfers by Airbus Spain to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates may have contributed to war crimes in Yemen, according to a new report by a coalition of human rights NGOs.
The report appears to expose new evidence of direct links between Airbus Spain and other Spanish companies with the two Gulf states, and war crimes they may have committed in Yemen since the gruelling civil war began in 2015.
Airbus Spain plays a crucial role in the production, export and maintenance of the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, a European multinational fighter jet that has been a key feature of Saudi Arabia’s aerial bombardments of Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.
"Spanish military equipment is essential for both aircrafts and a number of other military goods used by the Saudi/Emirati-led Coalition in Yemen," the report by Amnesty International, Centre Delas and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) said.
"Spanish military equipment is essential for both aircraft and a number of other military goods used by the Saudi/Emirati-led Coalition that has committed atrocities in Yemen,” said Alberto Estévez, Amnesty International spokesperson.
“This raises serious questions as to the potential complicity of the Spanish government in the commission of international crimes in Yemen," Estévez said.
The report also takes aim at European arms producers from the UK, Spain, Germany, France and Italy for their complicity in alleged Saudi war crimes, as well as state actors for their inaction in halting arms sales during the protracted war.
“Military goods of European origin constitute a substantial part of the overall equipment available to Saudi Arabia and UAE air forces” added Christian Schliemann-Radbruch of ECCHR.
“It is time for both corporate and government actors to review their actions against the standards of international criminal law and for the Prosecutor of the ICC to investigate their role in the atrocities committed in Yemen,” he concluded.
Rasheed al-Faqih, director of grassroots Yemeni NGO Mwatana for Human Rights, said “the sale of arms by Spain to Saudi Arabia is tantamount to a participation in their war crimes against the Yemeni people.”
The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to back the internationally recognised government, a year after the Houthi rebels took the capital Sanaa.
Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed, in what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.