France condemned for complicity in Yemen war by world's biggest NGOs

by The Region    


Sixteen humanitarian and rights organisations have tried to push France to prevent its allies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, from causing a massacre in the city of Hodeidah, where both countries are engaging in a bloody assault on Yemen's most important port, and one of the last strongholds of Houthi rebels. 

"In three years of war, the coalition forces have repeatedly violated international humanitarian law, using explosive weapons with wide area effect in densely populated areas, bombing schools and hospitals, and blocking aid and access. The Houthi forces they are fighting have also laid antipersonnel landmines, restricted humanitarian access and indiscriminately shelled densely populated areas in Yemen."

The 16 signatories, include: ACAT, Alliance Internationale pour la Defense des Droits et des Libertes, Amnesty International, Action Contre La Faim, CARE France, Handicap International, Human Rights Watch, Observatoire des Armements, Norwegian Refugee Council, Medecins du Monde, Premiere Urgence Internationale, Saferworld, Salam for Yemen, Save the Children, SumOFUS, and CARE International.  

The appeal comes ahead of a plan by France's Emmanuel Macron to organise a humanitarian conference on Wednesday 27th June, which these NGO's criticize insofar as it asks the Saudi Arabian government to provide its take on how the worlds largest ongoing humanitarian crisis should be solved. Especially because Riyadh is party to the conflict.  

"France's willingness to do more to address the crisis in Yemen is welcome. However, several NGOs have recently expressed, in an open letter to President Macron their concerns about the humanitarian conference on Yemen of 27 June," a statement they produce reads," co-chaired by Saudi Arabia -- a party to the conflict--, as a major offensive is underway". 

The organisations also called for an end to French arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

"France must use all the levers at its disposal to immediately stop the offensive on the city and support the UN efforts to take control of the port and accelerate the peace process," Fanny Petitbon, Advocacy Manager for CARE France said, "This is the only way to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe."