SANAA, The war quickly distinguished itself as a humanitarian fiasco even in a region already host to some of the most violent crises of our time, namely in Libya and Syria. The scope of destruction and human suffering in Yemen is staggering. Some estimates hold that 50,000 have died in Yemen as a direct consequence of military action, half of them civilians; perhaps many more have died from war-related disease and malnutrition.
At least 2.3 million Yemenis have been displaced according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. More than 22 million Yemenis require some form of humanitarian assistance; 8 million are on the brink of famine; and 16 million do not have access to safe drinking water. In October 2016, Yemen suffered an outbreak of cholera affecting nearly a million people, only to be further exacerbated by the war. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, of preventable causes.
The war in Yemen has killed and injured thousands of Yemeni civilians since it began. As of November 2018, 6,872 civilians had been killed and 10,768 wounded, the majority by Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrikes, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
Thousands more have been displaced by the fighting and millions suffer from shortages of food and medical care.
Across the country, civilians suffer from a lack of basic services, a spiraling economic crisis, and broken governance, health, education, and judicial systems.
The United States is directly implicated in the air campaign because it refuels the bombers and provides targeting intelligence. Many American policymakers were willing to shoulder the risks of involvement because they hoped that careful U.S. advice would reduce casualties and enable Saudi and Emirati forces to concentrate their fire on military targets. Sadly, that has not proven to be the case.
Whether because the Saudi-led coalition has ignored advice or is technically incapable of operating more precisely and with oversight, the strikes have fallen short of the already low standards set by America's campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.
Since 2015, Human Rights Watch has documented about 90 unlawful coalition airstrikes, which have hit homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques.
In 2018, the coalition bombed a wedding, killing 22 people, including 8 children, and in another strike bombed a bus filled with children, killing at least 26 children. Human Rights Watch has identified remnants of US-origin munitions at the site of more than two dozen attacks, including the 2018 attacks on the wedding and the bus.
The armed conflict has taken a terrible toll on the civilian population. The coalition has conducted scores of indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes killing thousands of civilians and hitting civilian objects in violation of the laws of war, using munitions sold by the United States, United Kingdom, and others, including widely banned cluster munitions.
In Aden, guards tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers, including children, from the Horn of Africa in a detention center. The authorities denied asylum seekers an opportunity to seek refugee protection and deported migrants en masse to dangerous conditions at sea.
In 2018, the UN Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen concluded that Saudi, and UAE forces were credibly implicated in detainee-related abuse that might amount to war crimes.
The UAE has run informal detention facilities in Yemen, but has not acknowledged any role in detainee abuse nor conducted any apparent investigations.
The Saudi-led coalition's restrictions on imports have worsened the dire humanitarian situation. The coalition has delayed and diverted fuel tankers, closed critical ports, and stopped goods from entering . Fuel needed to power generators to hospitals and pump water to homes has also been blocked.
The Saudi-led coalition has harassed, intimidated, and arrested activists and journalists. Since May 2017, the coalition has restricted travel routes for journalists and international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, to areas of Yemen under Houthi control, including via UN flights.
The coalition has kept Sanaa International Airport closed since August 2016.
The Yemeni parties should continue to hold dialogue and consultations on regional security and port revenues, and make progress on myriad issues, including the exchange of prisoners. Urging the international community to increase its assistance to populations in need, he said the United Nations must continue to play its role as the main avenue of good political offices.
It is vital to promptly convene consultations in which all sectors of Yemen, including civil society can participate.
All parties have to cease military operations, engage in dialogue to resolve their differences and meet their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Source: Yemen News Agency