During Spain’s UPR: ADHRB Raises Spain’s Role in Possible War Crimes Committed in Yemen

On 16 July 2020, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 44 during Spain UPR.

Madam President,

The Spanish government has not been transparent on its police and security forces reform program which was the demand of many local and international non-government organizations as a direct result of events took place on and after October 2017 in Catalonia. Several organizations expressed regret that, on 1 October 2017, the date on which the referendum was held in Catalonia, the National Police and Civil Guard used excessive and disproportionate force against citizens who had gathered peacefully in various locations in Catalonia. They indicated that, in many cases, riot police ploughed directly into the crowd, without first trying to negotiate an alternative solution with them. A number of organizations stated that, as a result, the various hospitals treated almost a thousand people for injuries caused by police assaults. The Spanish government did not hold or enact any commission of inquiry despite the grave human rights violations and violence committed by Spanish police and security forces against peaceful protest. We would like to ask the Spanish delegation: Are they going to hold police officers and government officials responsible for violence and human rights toward peaceful protesters accountable for their crimes? Is the Spanish government going to pass any legislations to protect freedom of expression and speech especially when it comes to political speech of self-determination movement in the country?

Despite the political rhetoric from the Spanish government on its concerns for civilians lost in the war crimes committed by the Saudi-Emirati led coalition war in Yemen. Spain is one of the top countries when it comes to supplying weapons and especially bombs for Saudi-Emirati led coalition. Research shows that weapons purchased from Spain used to kill innocents’ Yemeni civilians. The sale of those arms in the first place violated Spanish laws. So the question we have for the Spanish delegation: Did the Spanish government violated Spanish laws by selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite opposition from the Parliament? Does Spain consider itself liable for the war crimes committed in Yemen using Spanish made bombs by Saudi led coalition? Is Spanish government going to compensate Yemeni victims of war crimes caused by its sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE?