Denmark sold arms to UAE despite ban over Yemen concerns: report

Denmark sold arms to UAE despite ban over Yemen concerns: report
Military hardware developed by Terma, a Danish aerospace and defence manufacturer, found its way into Emirati warships, even after Denmark banned arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition.
3 min read
19 May, 2020
The UAE's Archangel fighter warship is equipped with Terma's missile defence system [Getty]
A Danish media investigation has accused the country’s largest arms manufacturer of war crimes in Yemen in a series of reports published on Danwatch on Sunday.

The investigation, which was based on classified documents, aerial images as well as photos and images shared to social media, has found the Danish company has continued to supply arms – including radar and missile defence systems - to the UAE.

The military hardware developed by Terma, a Danish aerospace and defence manufacturer, found its way into Emirati warships directly involved in a naval blockade against Yemen, preventing civilian ships carrying food, medicine and fuel from reaching millions of starving civilians in the war-torn country.

The investigation reviews local Emirati TV footage showing the country’s Al-Dhafra warship – equipped with Terma’s Danish Scanter 2001 radar system - blocking the passage of a smaller cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid. This shows one explicit instance where the firm is implicated in the ensuing famine, according to the investigation, which caused the deaths of at least 85,000 children.

Satellite image analysis of Eritirea’s Naval Base in Assab – the UAE's main base in the war as revealed by French military intelligence – shows at least one Emirati Al-Dhafra warship docked between 2016-2019.

The Emirates-made Archangel fighter warship – equipped with Terma's so-called MASE pod missile defence system – also operated from the base in Assab, as well as Saudi Arabia's Jizan base.

The Archangel fighter, which famously made headlines when the aircraft crashed during a mission in September 2017, have carried out over 20,000 air strikes in Yemen.

Sales of Danish-made equipment continued beyond 2018, the investigation adds, when Denmark and other European states took the collective decision to block arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE for the latter’s involvement in the war in Yemen.

Read also: Dozens dying each day in coronavirus 'infested' Aden

Saudi purchasers acted as middlemen for the some of the deals, buying military spare parts and missiles from the company.

The investigation accuses the company of violating international humanitarian law and hold the company responsible for war crimes in Yemen – which the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Both Terma, and Denmark’s ruling authorities, had repeatedly refused request to speak those carrying out the investigation directly.

Terma defended its activities in an email, claiming that it complied with "the rules applicable at all times to trade in defence and dual-use products and followed "decisions made by the Danish authorities regarding exports".

Dual-use refers to equipment that may have both defence and civilian purposes.

In 2015, Amnesty International warned that arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates violated international law.

In 2019, the UN’s group of Eminent Experts on Yemen said that countries involved in exporting weapons and military equipment to the Saudi-led coalition were implicated in war crimes.

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