The German government breaches international law by continuing its arms supplies to Saudi Arabia, according to Karl Justen, head of the non-profit ecumenical organization Gemeinsame Konferenz Kirche und Entwicklung (GKKE).
Presenting a report on German weapon exports to reporters on Monday, Justen specifically referred to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which he said is "still waging a war in Yemen with grave violations of international law."
"The UN is talking about a humanitarian catastrophe involving almost 20 million people. The maritime blockade of Yemen, which runs counter to international law, plays a significant role in this. I don't rule out that German patrol boats are involved in this naval blockade. The German government's arms exports add to the humanitarian catastrophe," Justen pointed out.
He added that arms supplies to Saudi Arabia violate "the rules of arms trade that are mandatory from the point of view of international law and contradict the EU's common position on the export of military goods and technology, as well as the law on arms control."
In this regard, the German government "does not comply with its own principles and key provisions on the prevention of wars and the struggle for peace," according to Justen.
Blaming Berlin for failing to stick to the dialogue on armaments policy initiated by former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Justen said that "GKKE demands that the government should immediately withdraw all previously issued permits for arms supplies to the military coalition and finally begin to implement a restrictive export policy in the field of armaments."
According to the report on German weapon exports, Berlin issued permits for arms supplies to Saudi Arabia worth about 1.54 billion euros ($1.74bn).
In October, the new German government issued a total of 87 arms export permits, including those related to patrol boats and air defence systems for Saudi Arabia amounting to 254 million euros ($288mln).
The presentation of the report came amid a complicated situation in Yemen, which has been engulfed in an ongoing armed conflict — between the government forces led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and the Houthi rebels. The Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request since March 2015.