An investigation by Amnesty International reveals that the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key party to the Saudi-led coalition waging war on Yemen, has been funneling Western-supplied arms to “out-of-control” militias notorious for committing war crimes against Yemenis.
The UK-based rights group made the revelations in the open-source investigation titled ‘When arms go astray: Yemen’s deadly new threat of arms diversion to militias’ published on Wednesday.
In a press release, Amnesty said the investigation “has highlighted how the UAE is arming out-of-control militias operating in Yemen with a range of advanced weaponry – much of it sourced from Western countries, including the UK.”
The statement added that the militants were being armed despite their “atrocious human rights records,” their being unaccountable to any government and the accusations of war crimes and other serious violations facing them.
The investigation “shows how the UAE has become a major conduit for armored vehicles, mortar systems, rifles, pistols, and machineguns – which are being diverted” to the militants.
The Amnesty said the UAE also funded and trained the militants. It named some of the UAE-backed militant outfits as “Security Belt,” “Shabwani Elite” forces, and “The Giants Brigades.”
The first two outfits, it said, run “a shadowy network of secret prisons” in Yemen.
Amnesty International says the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its allied local militia have been torturing captives at a network of clandestine prisons in southern Yemen.
“Amnesty and others have documented these forces’ role in disappearances and a range of human rights violations at these facilities – including detention at gunpoint, torture with electric shocks, waterboarding, hanging from the ceiling, sexual humiliation, prolonged solitary confinement, squalid conditions and inadequate food and water,” the statement read.
Western countries have supplied the UAE with at least $3.5 billion worth of arms since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and the Emirates and a coalition of their other allies, invaded the impoverished country to reinstall its Riyadh-allied former government.
The warfare has killed thousands and forced Yemen close to the edge of countrywide famine.
The Amnesty said while knowing about the share of the violations attributed to the UAE, the US, the UK, Germany, France, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey were still selling weapons to Abu Dhabi.
“Meanwhile, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands have announced suspensions in arms transfers to the UAE,” it said.
On Monday, the CNN reported that Saudi Arabia and the UAE “have used the US-manufactured weapons as a form of currency to buy the loyalties of militias or tribes, bolster chosen armed actors, and influence the complex political landscape.”
Saudi Arabia is “transferring” American weapons to al-Qaeda terrorists and Salafi militias in Yemen, a report reveals.
The report, which was citing local commanders on the ground and analysts, also said Saudi Arabia was “transferring” American weapons to al-Qaeda terrorists and other militias in Yemen.
It questioned whether Riyadh was “responsible enough to be allowed to continue buying the sophisticated arms and fighting hardware,” while the US Department of Defense said the Saudi monarchy was breaking the terms of its arms deal with Washington.