Yemen: No more armament deals with Saudi Arabia!

Air raids on vital infrastructure (Press Release)

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

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls on the German federal government suspend all arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the Sunni kingdom stops the air raids on targets in neighboring Yemen and lifts the blockade of airports and harbours as well as the border crossings. “There must be an end to the air raids of the Saudi Air Force, which are claiming a lot of innocent civilian victims,” demanded Dr. Kamal Sido, the STP’s Middle East Consultant. “In addition, the borders must be opened for aid deliveries – immediately! There must be immediate measures to keep the people of Yemen from starving. Moreover, the destruction of vital infrastructure must not be tolerated. Under these circumstances, it is completely incomprehensible that the federal government recently authorized an arms deal with Saudi Arabia, worth almost 148 million Euros.” In the past two and a half weeks, the Saudi Air Force attacked drinking water plants, neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, roads, farms, markets, and other civilian targets in southern Arab Yemen, which is already shaken and impoverished due to the armed conflicts.”

At least 10,000 people have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been injured since the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in the neighboring country at the end of March 2015. 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 diseases 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.

A memorandum on the basis of research by several friends of the STP in Yemen (German title: “Die Al-Akhdam im Jemen: Eine rechtlose Minderheit in einem vergessenen Krieg“) can be requested by e-mail (nahost@gfbv.de) or downloaded at www. gfbv.de.