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Murad Subay, Yemeni street artist and member of the Artist Protection Fund program, together with seven humanitarian and human rights NGOs, are taking to the streets to raise awareness about France’s role in the devasting conflict in Yemen which has resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Murad Subay has worked on a fresco that denounces France’s transfer of weapons to parties in the conflict. The piece of art will remain for a week at the crossroads of Vieille du Temple and Quatre Fils Streets in Paris, 3rd district.
The war in Yemen has been already been raging for five years and more than a 100,000 people have lost their lives. With an average of 13 civilians killed per day, September was the deadliest month for civilians in 2019.
By selling arms to parties in the conflict, France is complicit in Yemen’s suffering. In order to raise awareness about the role the French Government is playing, the Yemeni street artist Murad Subay, alongside with seven NGOs (Action against Hunger, ACAT, Amnesty International France, CARE France, Doctors of the World, Oxfam France and SumOfUs) have produced a fresco in the middle of Paris.
The talented street-artist from Dhamar in Yemen, member of the Artist Protection Fund program, has been using his art to highlight abuses in the war, including enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests. When the conflict erupted in 2014-2015, Subay used the ruins that the war was creating as canvases to share his important message. Today, in the heart of Paris, he is bringing these messages to the French Government who share some responsibility for his country’s suffering.
« Every bomb that France manufactures for this conflict can destroy a family. It is the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who are paying the price for this conflict. The world must know of the hypocrisy of those governments that are profiting from this terrible conflict. » said Murad Subay.
Since 2016, twelve European countries including Germany, Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom have announced measures to suspend or limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, despite strong civil society mobilization and repeated requests for an increased parliamentarian control on the issue, the French government continues to allow arms transfers to parties to the conflict. Today, petitions launched by Oxfam France, Amnesty International France and SumOfUs, urging President Macron to stop selling weapons for use in this conflict, have gathered more than 250,000 signatures. In order to highlight the extent of this mobilization, signatures of the petitions will be displayed next to the fresco’s wall and people in the street will be invited to add theirs.
It is time for France to respect its international commitments regarding the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the EU Common Position 2008/944 / CFSP. Since there is a major risk that countries use French weapons against civilians, France must stop providing them.
Notes to editors:
Murab Subay and NGOs spokespersons are available for interviews.
ACAT : Christina Lionnet – firstname.lastname@example.org – 01 40 40 74 10
Action contre la Faim : Maryna Chebat – email@example.com – 06 49 10 83 65
Amnesty International France : Claire Cerniaut – firstname.lastname@example.org – 06 76 94 37 05
CARE : Camille Nozières – email@example.com – 06 76 22 23 74
Médecins du Monde : Insaf Rezagui – firstname.lastname@example.org – 06 09 17 35 59
Oxfam France : Jon Cerezo – email@example.com – 06 51 15 54 38
About the conflict in Yemen:
The conflict in Yemen started in 2014 and escalated in 2015. It opposes forces Loyal to President Hadi, supported since 2015 by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to the group Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis)
The conflict is causing one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, with 24 million people dependent on foreign aid.
According to UNDP figures, 233,000 people have been killed since 2015, directly by the fighting (100,000) or indirectly through lack of access to food, health services and infrastructure.