Responding to reports that the Biden administration plans to move forth on a Trump administration plan to sell weaponry worth approximately $23 billion to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA said:
“These are not the actions of a President committed to upholding human rights in the United States and abroad. The startling fact that the Biden administration continues the previous administration’s unflinching support of providing weapons that risk adding to the devastating toll of Yemeni civilians unlawfully killed and injured by United States-made weapons should shake to the core every person who supports human rights.
“United States drones could be responsible for UAE attacks that violate international humanitarian law and kill, as well as injure, thousands of Yemeni civilians. The Biden administration must resolutely refrain from supplying weapons that could be used in the conflict and not transfer weaponry to the UAE, or risk complicity in likely war crimes across the region, including Yemen.”
Since Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition air strikes began in March 2015, Amnesty International has visited and investigated dozens of air strike sites in eight governorates and repeatedly found remnants of munitions manufactured in the United States. U.S.-manufactured Raytheon Paveway bombs examined by Amnesty International that have struck hospitals, schools, and civilian homes, killing healthcare providers, teachers, and entire families, including children as young as two years old.
The sale to the UAE is particularly worrying as Amnesty International has acquired extensive evidence that the UAE used armed drones in Libya, to break the long-standing UN arms embargo, by operating these drones on behalf of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces, an armed group controlling large swaths of Eastern Libya, in the conflict against the internationally backed Government of National Accord. The UAE has used these drones to target civilian houses and health facilities, including field hospitals and ambulances which is especially concerning as medics, medical transport and medical facilities, including those treating wounded or sick fighters, are specially protected under international humanitarian law.
Amnesty International USA is calling for the United States to immediately halt transfers of all arms, equipment, and military assistance to all parties to the conflict for use in Yemen; and to enforce the United Nations arms embargo on Libya by prohibiting the transfer of arms and equipment that may be used in the armed conflict there.
Media contact: Mariya Parodi, [email protected]