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France: government taken to court over arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE

September 24, 2021 at 12:07 pm

People hold a banner reading “Stop the sale of illegal weapons” during a demonstration by several humanitarian associations including “Amnesty International”, on 6 February 2020 at Cherbourg harbor, during an action to prevent the docking of the Bahri Yanbu, a ship flying the flag of Saudi Arabia accused of transporting weapons for the conflict in Yemen. [LOU BENOIST/AFP via Getty Images]

Civil society organisations yesterday filed a lawsuit at the Administrative Court of Paris against the French government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. A joint statement by Amnesty International, the European Centre for Constitution and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the Disclose Foundation said that the suit was filed to reveal documents related to the French arms sales.

“French weapons are being used in humanitarian violations against civilians in Yemen,” said the groups. “If [the French government] refuses to disclose the documents related to arms sales, it will be violating the public’s right to obtain information about controversial topics.” They stressed that such a right is guaranteed by French law.

The human rights organisations pointed out that around 70 French fighter jets have been used in the Yemen war. Tanks were exported to the UAE in the 1990s.

Impoverished Yemen has been mired in a war since Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital Sanaa in 2014. The conflict escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition, including the UAE, intervened in support of the government forces.

The UN has said that the Yemeni war has led to the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

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