Oxfam criticises Spain over arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Yemen civilian areas hit in airstrike by Saudi-led coalition. Photo: EFE via InfoLibre
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• Gov’t has sold 650mn euros worth of arms to Saudis during war with Yemen
• Spain’s humanitarian aid just 700k euros to Yemen, ravaged by Saudi airstrikes

Oxfam Intermón, the Spanish affiliate of international development aid organisation Oxfam, criticised Spain’s government on Wednesday for having sold hundreds of millions of armaments to Saudi Arabia while only allocating 700,000 euros in humanitarian aid to Yemen since the Saudis began launching military strikes inside Yemen two years ago.

According to Oxfam, Spain has sold more than 650 million euros worth of armaments to the Saudi Arabian government since the Saudis began their military intervention against Yemen in 2015 in coalition with nine other African and Middle East countries, hoping to influence the outcome of Yemen’s civil war in favor of the government of Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

In 2016 alone, the Spain exported 116.2 million euros worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, despite international outcry against the Saudi monarchy over human rights violations and aerial bombardments in Yemen that have included airstrikes against the Yemeni civilian population. Of the 2016 arms sales, an estimated 84.94 percent went to the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces, 11.83 percent to the Police and the rest to other agencies of the Saudi government. Bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles reportedly accounted for 41.2 million of Spain’s arms sales to the Saudis last year.

Oxfam Intermón director José María Vera said Wednesday that while Spain’s arms exports to the Saudis are virtually unchecked, the 700,000 euros in humanitarian aid sent to Yemen is “petty” and “ridiculous”, given that the total amount of Spanish aid accounts for less than 0.02 percent of all humanitarian contributions to Yemen by international donors. While the humanitarian situation in Yemen is “on the brink of the abyss,” said Vera, Spain’s government has yet to send any humanitarian aid so far this year to the war-ravaged country and has not earmarked any funds for Yemeni assistance in the 2017.

► Read More in Spanish at Ecodiario, Europa Press and InfoLibre …

► Sign Oxfam petition [in Spanish] to increase humanitarian aid to Yemen …

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