Photo: Oxfam Intermón
Eduardo González. 19/06/2017
Last week, the non-governmental organization Oxfam Intermón denounced that, since the start of the armed conflict two years ago, Spain has only allocated 700,000 euros of humanitarian assistance to Yemen (0.02% of all the world donations), whereas, in the same period, it has sold weapons to Saudi Arabia valued at more than 650 million euros, “despite of the significant risk of these being used in the conflict of Yemen”.
“Yemen is on the brink of ruin and Spain could contribute to ease this situation if it allocated more funds and stopped the sale of weapons to countries involved in the war, such as Saudi Arabia”, José María Vera, director of Oxfam Intermón, declared.
According to the organization, Spain’s contribution to the humanitarian emergency in Yemen is “very small”, given that, since the beginning of the conflict two years ago, the Spanish authorities have allocated 700,000 euros in humanitarian assistance to this country, 200,000 in 2015 and half a million in 2016, an amount that “does not even mean 0.02% of the total contributions made by all the international donors”. “And the worst thing is that, this year, it has not made any contribution and it is not expected to make it unless there is additional financing at the end of the year”, he warned.
Since March 2015, the war in Yemen has killed more than 8,000 people, it has left 44,000 injured and it has caused the exodus of three million people from their homes, according to data collected by the NGO.
This shortage of funds in the assistance worsens with the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia. According to the last report published in May by Oxfam Intermón, Amnesty International, Fundi Pau and Greenpeace, and according to the data of the Government, Spain exported, between 2015 and 2016, ammunition, bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, mortar shells, fire-control systems, electronic equipment and aircrafts to Saudi Arabia valued at more than 650 million euros, 546 million in 2015 and 116,2 million in 2016.
Oxfam denounces that our country has only allocated 0.02% of the total international assistance to Yemen
“Any possible sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that can be used in Yemen is illegal, because it violates the Spanish and international legislation on the trade of weapons”, Vera warned. In December 2007, Spain approved the Law on Trade of Weapons, which forces to apply the Code of Conduct of the EU banning the transfer of weapons to countries in conflict or where human rights are violated. Besides, our country has ratified the International Treaty on Trade of Weapons.
According to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), Spain was between 2013 and 2015 the third world weapon exporter to Saudi Arabia, after the United States and the United Kingdom. According to official data collected by the NGO, between 2014 and 2016, Spain exported weapons to Saudi Arabia valued at almost 1,000 million euros.
Exactly one year ago, pressure from Riyadh forced the UN to withdraw a report accusing the coalition led by Saudi Arabia of 60% of the deaths of children in Yemen, as admitted then (and remembered on Wednesday in Madrid) by the then secretary general of the organization, Ban Ki-moon.