23 December 2016

Saudi-led coalition use of Brazilian-made cluster munitions linked to civilian deaths in Yemen

At least 8 civilians killed or injured in recent attack in Saada


Brazil-made cluster munitions used in Yemen © 2016 Private

Impact crater created by a submunition used in the cluster munition attack on Saada City, December 6, 2016. © 2016 Private


On 6 December, the Saudi-led coalition used Brazilian-made rockets containing cluster munitions in an attack on Saada’s al-Dhubat neighborhood, in Yemen. The Astro II rockets struck close to two schools, killing at least two civilians and injuring six others, including a 14-year old boy, according to Human Rights Watch in a press release put out today.

All cluster munitions have been banned under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Any and all use of these weapons violates international humanitarian law due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and the legacy of harm it leaves behind for civilians, even after the war has ended.

“Cluster munitions are no longer considered a legitimate weapon of war,” stated Megan Burke, Director of the Cluster Munition Coalition. “We are saddened to hear of the further loss of innocent lives in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition must cease to use any and all cluster munitions. We also call on Brazil to investigate the use of these cluster munitions in this unlawful attack.”

On December 19, the Saudi-led coalition announced it would stop using a UK-made cluster munition, the BL-755, but left open the possibility it would continue using other types of cluster munitions in Yemen. Earlier this year, the United States government suspended the sale of sensor fuzed weapons, a type of cluster munition, to Saudi Arabia, following the evidence of civilian harm they had caused.

Amnesty International reported finding evidence of Brazilian-made unexploded cluster munitions in Yemen in November of 2015. Both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are known to have purchased ASTROS cluster munition rockets from Brazil, where they are manufactured by Avibrás Indústria Aeroespacial SA.

The international community should condemn this recent use of cluster munitions in Yemen and call on the Saudi-led coalition to desist in using cluster munitions.