INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY: A HUMAN RIGHTS FOCUS ON YEMEN
Peace and human rights go hand in hand – peace is fragile without human rights, and people’s basic rights are trodden underfoot in times of war.
ALQST supports UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein’s call last month for an independent international investigation of abuses in Yemen that include military attacks on residential areas and medical facilities. The United Nations estimates that nearly 3,800 Yemeni civilians have been killed and more than 6,700 wounded since March 2015. That is when the Saudi Arabian coalition, which supports the government, began its bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels.
Mr Zeid said Yemeni civilians “have suffered unbearably over the years” because of armed conflicts. And, he said, “they continue to suffer, absent any form of accountability and justice, while those responsible for the violations and abuses against them enjoy impunity. Such a manifestly, protractedly unjust situation must no longer be tolerated by the international community.”
A report mandated by the UN Human Rights Council and released on August 25 details a number of allegations of human rights abuses committed in Yemen over the past 18 months that have led to thousands of deaths and left millions of people without proper food. The report shows examples of military attacks on marketplaces and medical facilities, sniper attacks on civilians and the use of cluster bombs that could possibly be in violation of international law.
“In numerous situations where military targets could be identified, there remain serious concerns as to whether the incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects that could be expected from the attack were not excessive in relation to the anticipated concrete and direct military advantage apparently sought,” the report says.
The report says the escalating fighting is taking a devastating toll on the civilian population. It reports 7.6 million people, including 3 million women and children, are suffering from malnutrition and at least 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes.
The chief of the Middle East and North Africa section of the High Commissioner’s Office, Mohammad Ali Alnsour, says all sides in the conflict are involved in serious violations and abuses.