Financial institutions worldwide invested billions of dollars in U.S. producer of cluster munitions used in Yemen

According to Cluster Munition Coalition-member Human Rights Watch there is credible evidence that the Saudi-led coalition recently used banned cluster munitions supplied by the United States in airstrikes against Houthi forces in Yemen. Cluster munitions are banned under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). Saudi Arabia, Yemen nor the United States have joined the convention.

On 27 March, the Cluster Munition Coalition had called on Saudi Arabia and others not to use cluster munitions. Two days later, Saudi Arabia denied it used cluster bombs, saying “We are not using cluster bombs at all.”

Human Rights Watch identified remnants of two CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons. It is believed that these were used in recent weeks, including before 17 April and possibly as recently as 27 April. Sensor Fuzed Weapons are produced by U.S. company Textron Systems Corporation. The report ‘Worldwide Investments in Cluster Munitions; a shared responsibility’ by PAX from November 2014 revealed that financial institutions worldwide have invested billions of dollars in this cluster munitions producer in recent years.

“The use of these internationally banned weapons is unacceptable. The cluster munitions that were identified in Yemen are produced by an American company in which financial institutions worldwide are still investing billions of dollars,” says Suzanne Oosterwijk, co-author of the report. “These investments make it possible for this horrendous weapon to be produced and show up in conflict to threaten the lives of civilians, as is now the case in Yemen. It is high time to stop these explosive investments.”

Cluster munitions are banned because of the humanitarian harm they cause, both during and long after conflict. 116 countries have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions which bans the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of the weapon. Moreover, assistance with any of these acts is banned. According to the CMC, PAX and a growing group of countries it follows that investment in cluster munitions, which constitute as a form of assistance with production, is also prohibited.