INVITATION TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION: Arms exports to Saudi Arabia must be stopped – immediately!

Don’t fuel the war against the civilian population in Yemen!

STP action in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia. Photo: STP

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 (from 12:30 to 3 pm), Invalidenstraße, opposite the main entrance of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Berlin

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) is planning to hold a vigil outside the Federal Ministry of Economics in Berlin on Tuesday, to emphasize that the current and the future federal government must immediately put an end to all arms exports to Saudi Arabia. “The recently authorized € 148 million arms deal with Saudi Arabia must be suspended until the Sunni Kingdom stops its air raids on civilian targets in neighboring Yemen and stops blocking the airports, harbors, and border crossings,” the STP stated with regard to its human rights campaign.

“The patrol boats Saudi Arabia wants to purchase from Germany can also be used to continue the naval blockade of Yemen and to obstruct the urgently needed aid deliveries,” the STP warned. “Germany must under no circumstances support a government that is trying to starve out the civilian population of neighboring Yemen.”

Over the past two and a half weeks, the Saudi Air Force attacked drinking water treatment plants, neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, roads, farms, markets, and other civilian targets in Yemen – a country that is shaken and impoverished due to the armed conflict. Since the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in the neighboring country at the end of March 2015, at least 10,000 people have lost their lives – and tens of thousands were injured. More than 2,000 schools were destroyed or severely damaged. Out of 26 million Yemenis, around 21.2 million, nearly 85 percent of the population, are dependent on humanitarian aid. About 7.6 million, including three million children and women, are suffering from malnutrition, and epidemics such as cholera have already broken out. At least three million Yemenis are on the run within the country, and about 173,000 have already left Yemen.

According to the STP, the situation is especially bad for the minority of the Al-Akhdam, who have always been marginalized. Because of their darker skin color, they have been suffering from discrimination for centuries – and they are often treated as slaves, even though slavery was officially abolished in Yemen in the 1960s. Most of the Al-Akhdam live in urban slums in embattled Yemeni cities such as Taizz or in the capital Sanaa, which was repeatedly attacked by the Saudi Air Force. As a result of the war, the Al-Akhdam are living in unimaginable misery, and they are barely considered in the distribution of the few relief supplies that arrive in Yemen. With 500,000 to three million members, this ethnic group represents two to ten percent of the country’s 27 million inhabitants.