Yemen: New evidence of killings of civilians by Saudi-led coalition airstrikesVictor Nageh
Geneva, 25th of August 2017
Human rights council monitoring
The Gulf & Yemen project
The Committee for justice – a human rights organization based in Geneva – said: “The united nations and the office of high commissioner for human rights have to deal with the crimes and violations committed against civilians and children, caused by airstrikes of the Arabic Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, that is commensurate with the magnitude of the offence committed.
It added: “The international community has to work hard towards activating the results of the united nations’ investigations that took place in Yemen, so that it doesn’t remain locked in drawers. The crimes committed so far, and what has been documented by the united nations’ offices and staff is enough for the human rights council to exercise its authority, to protect the civilians and prevent impunity of perpetrators.
Through its human rights council monitor, the “Committee for Justice” followed the statement issued by the office of high commissioner for human rights, which mentioned that the United nations team had obtained information regarding a crime committed against civilians, resulting from an airstrike by coalition forces, on a hotel in the governorate of Sana’a last Wednesday, 23rd of August 2017, in which 33 deaths and 25 more injuries all among civilians were confirmed in the attack.
According to eye witnesses, whom the United Nations office in Yemen interviewed, two airstrikes in close succession took place at around 3:30 to 4:00 a.m. local time, on “Bait El Athari” village in the region of Arhab. The first airstrike targeted a security checkpoint controlled by the Houthis, but there were no reports of any casualties, while the other airstrike which took place few minutes later hit a “Isterahat Al Shehab” hotel, which led to the destruction of the second floor, and inflicted severe damage on the rest of the buildings. Eye witnesses said 67 people were in the hotel when the assault happened on the hotel, which lies on a main road, 10-15 meters away from the security checkpoint.
According to the United nations’ issued statement, ten of the wounded were transferred to “Al Awmara” hospital, while another 15, some of which were severely wounded, where transferred to hospitals in Sana’a, around 40 Kilometers away.
The United nations mentioned the occurrence of a number airstrikes on civilians on the 23rd of August as well, where at around 5:30 – a.m., an airstrike launched by the coalition forces hit a house in the village of “Rima Hamada”, located in “Sanhan” district in the governorate of Sana’a, which led to the death of six civilians and sixteen others being injured. According to eye witnesses interviewed by the United nations’ staff, four people among the dead people found were staying in the house at the time of the assault, while two other victims were outside in a nearby farm. The targeted house was located 400 meters from the Hauthis’ security checkpoint.
Also, On the 22nd of August around 5 p.m., a woman and two children were killed, while another two women and two children were injured, when an airstrike of the Saudi-led coalition hit a house in “Talan” village, about 20 kilometers away from the Yemeni/Saudi borders, in the governorate of “Saada”.
And during the week from 17th to 24th of August, the United nations said that 58 civilians were killed, among which 42 deaths occurred through assaults by the Saudi-led coalition, as mentioned earlier, while 12 civilians were killed by the hands of unknown armed men, and four people were killed by the Houthi forces. The total number of deaths which occurred in that week was more than the number of the civilians killed during last June, where 52 people were killed during the entire month.
Since March 2015, the United nations office for human rights in Yemen has documented 13829 crimes committed against civilians, among which there were 5110 deaths and 8719 wounded cases reported. (These numbers are based on the incidences which were verified individually through the United nations’ office in Yemen).
In all these cases, where civilians were killed or injured, eye witnesses said there were no warnings of imminent attacks.
The Committee for Justice” affirms that the international laws related to wars, which are applicable to Yemen, obliges the parties of armed conflict to prevent any random attacks which could affect civil objects or civilians with no clear distinction.