Theater of Cruelty

«Norwegian authorities lack spine»

The situation in Yemen is worrying. Nevertheless, Norway still sells weapons to the parties. "I am shocked at the scale of serious war crimes committed by warring parties," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a recent report on children and armed conflict. 




(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)

[ntsu_row] [ntsu_column size = ”3/5 ″] Yemen has seen a dramatic increase in child abuse after the Saudi-led intervention began in March 2015, according to the UN report. Of the children who have been killed or seriously injured in hostilities, the Saudi-led coalition is responsible for 60 percent, while the Houthi rebels account for 20 percent, according to the UN. The Saudi-led coalition, which also consists of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and others, is listed among parties killing and maiming children, and attacking schools and hospitals. Nevertheless, countries in the coalition may continue to buy Norwegian weapons.

Increased arms exports to the coalition. Ny Tid was the first Norwegian newspaper to report that Norwegian sales of ammunition to the United Arab Emirates continued after the war broke out and until January this year. The Emirates are participating in the war in Yemen with both bombers and ground forces. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now put its foot down for further sales of ammunition to the country, but not for weapons in general. Foreign Ministry's communications director Frode Overland Andersen has previously explained to Ny Tid that states that intervene in a civil war are not covered by current practice. "We do not in principle place restrictions on other countries' legitimate use of defense equipment," Andersen explained in April. "It is assumed that there is a civil war in Yemen between the Houthis and Yemen's legitimate authorities. Norway's self-imposed restrictions mean that we do not sell weapons and ammunition to the parties in a civil war – in this case not to the Houthis or Yemen. The practice has been that intervening states are not considered covered by the 1959 decision. "

Since Ny Tid's revelations in April, Norwegian arms exports to the emirates have continued, according to figures from Statistics Norway. In May and June this year alone, a total of 14,5 tonnes of material worth NOK 24,2 million was exported within the category «parts and accessories, for weapons for military use such as cannons, artillery, howitzers, bombers, etc.» Norwegian arms exports in 2015 also show that exports to the coalition countries increased last year compared with 2014. During 2015, Norway sold goods and services for military use for a total of just over NOK 148 million to the coalition countries. Among the equipment exported in 2015 were communications equipment to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt and the previously mentioned ammunition to the emirates that Nammo was behind.

“The situation for the civilian population in Yemen is getting worse. Every third child under five now suffers from acute malnutrition. ”

Screen Shot at 2016 08-10-10.56.28Responds strongly. Ny Tid can now reveal that the Kongsberg Group delivered nine Protector weapon platforms to Kuwait worth NOK 16,4 million in 2015. Kongsbergs Protector is an advanced remote-controlled weapon control system that can, for example, be mounted on an armored vehicle and fire up to medium-caliber automatic weapons while soldiers sit. inside the vehicle. The Kongsberg Group confirms the delivery to Ny Tid: «Kongsberg Protech Systems delivered remote-controlled weapon stations to Kuwait in 2015. This was a vehicle-mounted PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Station M151. All exports of defense equipment are subject to an export license from the Norwegian authorities. We follow the current regulations and guidelines of the Norwegian authorities for the export of defense equipment, "says communications manager Johannes Dobson in Kongsberg Gruppen to Ny Tid.

Hedda Langemyr
Hedda Langemyr

The general manager of the Norwegian Peace Council, Hedda Langemyr, believes that arms sales to these regimes must be stopped completely. "We react strongly to the fact that arms sales have not ceased. It is in Norwegian law that we must not export to dictatorial regimes or countries at war. The continued export testifies to a lack of backbone from the Norwegian authorities, "says Langemyr to Ny Tid. "The authorities often argue that we must secure the Norwegian arms industry, but arms exports to these countries are not very large. There is a relatively small price to pay for the symbolic value of stopping these exports altogether, and we should do so as long as these regimes are at war and committing human rights violations. "

The uncertain future of Yemen's people. In recent months, the Yemeni parties have been trying to negotiate an end to the war, so far without success. A fragile ceasefire, constantly interrupted by aerial bombing and ground fighting, has been in effect since early May. For Yemen's civilian population, however, the fighting is only a small part of the picture. Equally critical is the lack of food in the country, which is dependent on imports via ports that are now being bombed. “The situation for the civilian population in Yemen is getting worse. Every third child under five now suffers from acute malnutrition. 14 millions of people need emergency food and water, ”says Edward Santiago, Country Director of Save the Children in Yemen. “We're getting more and more children who are critically malnourished. The lack of food becomes more disastrous for each passing day. It hits children and infants hardest. ”

Line Hegna, Head of Communications at Save the Children Norway, is disappointed that arms sales to the Emirates have continued in May and June. "This shows that the lack of transparency regarding the sale of Norwegian military equipment makes it difficult for people in Norway to be sure that Norwegian equipment does not contribute to committing war crimes against children in Yemen," she told Ny Tid. A survey conducted by TNS Gallup earlier this year shows that 9 out of 10 Norwegians say no to arms trade with states that commit war crimes. "It is frustrating that we have to chase the Norwegian authorities on this, and that they do not themselves actively ensure that this type of trade ceases," Hegna continues.

Will not stop Norwegian arms exports. Despite the situation, the Norwegian authorities will not impose a general arms embargo on the coalition countries. Instead, applications for export licenses are considered individually. "We take the situation in Yemen seriously, and we are closely following the UN Security Council's assessments. All license applications for the export of Norwegian defense materiel to the Emirates are subject to individual and thorough assessment – and especially with regard to the risk of using the materiel in Yemen in violation of humanitarian law, "says Frode Overland Andersen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Ny Tid. He continues: "Export permits can normally be expected for equipment that, after thorough assessment, does not conflict with current guidelines, and a stricter precautionary approach with regard to the risk of use in violation of humanitarian law."

Norway is not the only country that has contributed to the coalition's capacity in Yemen. Both the United States and the United Kingdom have been strongly criticized for contributing both to arms exports and intelligence. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are also in the spotlight for launching a huge military upheaval in recent years. According to figures from SIPRI, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are at the forefront of military per capita consumption. In absolute terms, Saudi Arabia ranked third in military consumption in 2015, after the US and China, and ahead of Russia.

[/ntsu_column] [ntsu_column size=”2/5″]BOARD – FARAH* INTERVIEW STARTS AT 4.00
Farah, 9, interview part 1, translated below:

04.07 – 04.12 My life before the war was fun. I used to learn and go out with my friends [female friends].

04.13 – 04.21 But when the war started, I used to go to school scared that the planes would come and bomb us.
04.22 – 04.26 I would go to the space [Save the Children friendly space or just a square?], Wondering whether I should go there or not. Because of the planes.
04.27 – 04.33 One day we were in the 'space'… on the 22nd of May when they bombed…
04.34 – 04.45 [unclear couple of words]. The planes bombed. The missiles hit. Who hates us?
04.46 – 04.59 The worst day in my life was when we had to flee. We had to flee to Aden [unclear word].
04.60 – 05.07 I started hating the planes. I would go to school scared. I would go out scared and come back home scared.
05.08 – 05.20 That was the problem. We could not go out. Now I'm scared of planes, or what they drop on us. That they bomb us. This is what scares me.
05.28 – 05.46 I wish that the war would stop. [unclear words] because the children [… unclear words… got injured?]; some of them died and some of my [female] friends had to flee and some died. We got separated because of the war.
05.47 – 06.31 I wish the war would end, so I can continue my studies and become a doctor.

06: 31 – 07: 00 BOARD FARAH * INTERVIEW PT2 STARTS AT 07: 00
Farah, 9, nterview part 2 translated below:

07.07-07.11 My uncle was walking along the street…
07.12 – 07.17 My uncle was walking along the street and he got hit by shrapnel and was injured.
07.25 – 07.41 My uncle was injured when he was hit by shrapnel. My uncle was walking along the street and he got hit by shrapnel and was injured. The ambulance took him to hospital. It was in the war.
07.43 – 07.48 Since that day, I am scared… because of the war, I do not go out.
07.49 – 07.58 I was scared to go to school… or even going in or out. I was scared because of the war. 07.59-08.17 It separated people; separated families. People had to flee and run away because of the war. Lots of people had to flee; some were injured. Lots of people were injured and separated.
08.16-08.18 But with the space [not sure what is meant by 'space' here: child-friendly space or just a square?] Of course…
08.27 [Ends] 08.29 – 08.38 I wish the war would end, so I can continue my studies and become a doctor.

03: 38 – 08: 46 BOARD – HUSAM * INTERVIEW STARTS AT 08: 46

Husam *, 11, interview translated below:
08:46 – 08:58 My life was normal. We used to go out and play, not scared of anything. We would play; we would laugh and go for walks.
08:59 – 09:16 But these days… But these days, they say we are not allowed to go out of our areas. Before, we used to go out because it was safe.
09:23 – 09.48 I hate the war that I hate the war [that I have to leave for good… not sure of this sentence]. I hate that the houses were destroyed and friends have left; one has traveled; one had to flee; and one lost his parents and had to travel.
09.53 – 10:00 I wish things would go back to the way they were. Go back to how we were; play and go back to the good old days.
10:01 – 10:17 I wish my friends would come back and we would play. Without fear; going out – laugh and go to any park.
10:18 – 10:32 These days, they say the park is targeted and we can not go out. Only when we have to. Friends have traveled. And you are on your own and it is horrible.
10.41 – 10.45 Out of my friends no; but some neighbors, yes. 10.50 – 11:02 One of my neighbors who was my friend, left the country [unclear word]; a visit… then he would come to visit his dad, I mean his granddad [unclear a few words].
11:03 – 11:20 He was visiting once and things were not safe. A couple of weeks later, there was an explosion. He was on the street. He got hit by shrapnel. It blew off his arms and he died.
11:39 – 11:44 Since the war started, we have been here. We are settled here.
11:45 – 11:51 Before the war started… Nothing.
12.04 – 12.11 Yes, before the war…
12.14 – 12:20 Before the war started, everything was available… Everything was available and cheap.
12:21 – 12:30 Before, we used to be able to have lunch [unclear two sentences]. Now it's 2,500; the prices have gone up.
12:31 – 12:38 And the electricity… When the war started… When the war started, the electricity…
12:44 – 12:40 The electricity… With the war, the electricity… it's a misery. We are on the street. All the time on the street. Before, when things were safe, everything was normal. We used to stay at home or go out.
12:55 – 13:59 But since the war started, we play on the street, as there is no TV or electricity.
13:00 – 13:17 Now, with the war, we've got used to it. We've forgotten about TV and electricity. We do not know what electricity means; no electricity anymore; no candles either.
13:35 – 13:49 I wish that [unclear sentence]… the war would end. That we get electricity back; and that water becomes available; everything becomes available. That we are safe.
13:50 – 13:54 That we have plenty to eat. Unlike now, we have a little bit and we say we are not hungry anymore.
13:00 – 13:17 Now, with the war, we've got used to it. We've forgotten about TV and electricity. We do not know what electricity means; no electricity anymore; no candles either.
13:35 – 13:49 I wish that [unclear sentence]… the war would end. That we get electricity back; and that water becomes available; everything becomes available. That we are safe.
13:50 – 13:54 That we have plenty to eat. Unlike now, we have a little bit and we say we are not hungry anymore.
13:56 – 14:11 That everything goes back to the way it was. I wish that my friends who had to flee come back and we go back to the way we were.

[/ Ntsu_column] [/ ntsu_row]
Tori Aarseth
Tori Aarseth
Aarseth is a political scientist and a regular journalist at Ny Tid.

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