Amnesty International calls for arms embargo on Yemen

Amnesty International calls for arms embargo on warring parties in Yemen before Arms Trade Treaty meeting in Geneva

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Anti-Houthi fighters of the Southern Popular Resistance stand on a tank in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden, May 10, 2015

Amnesty International called on Monday for an arms embargo on warring parties in Yemen involving Saudi-led coalition and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, before Arms Trade Treaty summit in Geneva.

"Amnesty International is urging all states to ensure that no party to the conflict in Yemen is supplied –- either directly or indirectly –- with weapons, munitions, military equipment or technology that would be used in the conflict until they end such serious violations," it said in a statement.

The organization called "for any authorisation of arms transfers to any party to the Yemen conflict to include a strict, legally binding guarantee that the end use will be in line with international humanitarian and human rights law, and that such arms transfers will not be used in Yemen", it said.

"The embargo call goes far beyond existing international sanctions on parties to the conflict in Yemen." 

UN Security Council Resolution 2216, accepted in April 2015, imposed an arms embargo on the Houthi rebels and their allies.

Fighters loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Hadi launch rockets against Houthi positions, in Marib province, May 14, 2015. (AFP Archive)

A non-binding European Parliament resolution acknowledged on February 25 "called for the EU to seek to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, but not other parties to the conflict", Amnesty added.

But Amnesty said it "is not calling for a total ban on coalition members acquiring arms lawfully for legitimate uses outside Yemen -– for example, arms used for the protection of humanitarian aid or participation in peacekeeping operations."

The United Nations warned this month of a "human catastrophe unfolding in Yemen."

The warring parties in Yemen had agreed on a seven-day ceasefire which began on Dec 15 under UN surveillance in Switzerland.

However, with no major breakthrough in peace talks, the repeatedly violated ceasefire collapsed on January 2. The first violation of the ceasefire came just minutes after it had been declared.

The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition formally began its intervention in Yemen on March 25 after the Houthi rebels advanced on the southern city of Aden, forcing Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi to flee the city and take refuge in Riyadh.

Gulf Arab countries and the US have accused Iran of assisting the Houthis financially and militarily.

According to UN figures, at least 6,100 civilians have been killed in Yemen - nearly half of them civilians -, more than 28,000 have been injured and 2.5 million have been internally displaced since March.

TRTWorld and agencies