In January 2016 the Houthi-controlled Saada area, including medical facilities run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), received almost daily attacks. Michael Seawright, a Saada-based MSF project coordinator, said that they treated a high number of casualties, many with severe injuries. The Shiara hospital in Razeh District in Saada City, the only hospital with a trauma centre in the governorate of Saada and in most of northern Yemen, was hit on 10 January, and several people were killed, including medical personnel. MSF had been working in the facility since November 2015.
On 8 January 2016, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that Saudi coalition use of cluster munitions could be a war crime. HRW condemned the Saudi-led coalition for the attacks saying: "The coalition's repeated use of cluster bombs in the middle of a crowded city suggests an intent to harm civilians, which is a war crime. These outrageous attacks show that the coalition seems less concerned than ever about sparing civilians from war's horrors." A week later, Amnesty International published new evidence that appeared to confirm reports of coalition forces using US-made cluster munitions on Sanaʽa on 6 January 2016.More Info
On 8 and 9 May 2015, large-scale displacement was reported in Saada to neighbouring areas, after the Saudi-led military coalition declared the entire Saada governorate a "military zone" and started heavy airstrikes. Around 70,000 people, including 28,000 children, fled from the Governorate of Sa'ada. The Save the Children's Country Director in Yemen, Edward Santiago, said that many more were "largely unable to flee for safety because of the de facto blockade imposed by the coalition leading to severe fuel shortages". On 9 May 2015, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Johannes van der Klaauw, condemned the air strikes on Saada city as being in breach of international humanitarian law.More Info
NATO powers such as the United Kingdom and the United States support the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen primarily through arms sales and technical assistance. France had also made recent military sales to Saudi Arabia. MSF emergency coordinator Karline Kleijer called the US, France and the UK part of the Saudi-led coalition, which imposed the weapons embargo and blocked all ships from entering Yemen with supplies. Rights groups have criticized the countries for supplying arms, and accuse the coalition of using cluster munitions, which are banned in most countries. Oxfam pointed out that Germany, Iran, and Russia have also reportedly sold arms to the conflicting forces. Tariq Riebl, head of programmes in Yemen for Oxfam, said, "it's difficult to argue that a weapon sold to Saudi Arabia would not in some way be used in Yemen," or "if it's not used in Yemen it enables the country to use other weapons in Yemen." Amnesty International urged the US and the UK to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia and to the Saudi-led coalition. On August 3, 2019, a United Nations report said the US, UK and France may be complicit in committing war crimes in Yemen by selling weapons and providing support to the Saudi-led coalition which is using the deliberate starvation of civilians as a tactic of warfare. Arms sale by United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in 2019 reportedly soared by £1bn, i.e. 300%, in comparison to the figures in 2018. Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade condemned the increase and criticized the UK arms industry of being dominated by human rights abusers and dictatorships. UK-made fighter jets have been accused of causing catastrophic damage in Yemen. According to a May 28, 2020 article by The New York Times, the Trump administration in January 2020 told lawmakers that it was planning to sell a cache of munitions to Saudi Arabia, despite the kingdom’s human rights record. Reportedly, the sale of the said $478 million, precision-guided missiles used in Yemen war to Saudi, and approval of licenses permitting Raytheon to expand manufacturing in Riyadh are objected by lawmakers in both, Democrats and Republican parties.More Info
According to OCHA's fifth report, released on 26 April, humanitarian operations would come to a complete halt within two weeks and hospitals in both Sanaa and Aden would close completely due to the lack of fuel. The lack of fuel affected water supplies. Markets in affected governorates are not able to provide food, with wheat grain and flour prices rising by 42% and 44%, respectively. The healthcare system faced an imminent collapse with hospitals struggling to operate due to lack of medicines and supplies. Essential medicine prices increased by 300%.More Info
A UN panel of experts said in a report for the UN Security Council in January 2016, which was leaked to The Guardian, that the Saudi-led coalition had undertaken 119 sorties in Yemen that violated international humanitarian law. The panel said it had "documented that the coalition had conducted airstrikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of international humanitarian law, including camps for internally displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, including buses; civilian residential areas; medical facilities; schools; mosques; markets, factories and food storage warehouses; and other essential civilian infrastructure, such as the airport in Sanaʽa, the port in Hudaydah and domestic transit routes". The report said: "Many attacks involved multiple airstrikes on multiple civilian objects. Of the 119 sorties, the panel identified 146 targeted objects. The panel also documented three alleged cases of civilians fleeing residential bombings and being chased and shot at by helicopters." While the UN experts were not allowed on the ground in Yemen, they studied satellite imagery of cities before and after attacks, that showed "extensive damage to residential areas and civilian objects". The UN panel concluded that "civilians are disproportionately affected" by the fighting and deplored tactics that "constitute the prohibited use of starvation as a method of warfare". The report said: "The coalition's targeting of civilians through airstrikes, either by bombing residential neighbourhoods or by treating the entire cities of Sa'dah and Maran as military targets, is a grave violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. In certain cases, the panel found such violations to have been conducted in a widespread and systematic manner." The report called for an international commission, set up by the Security Council, that should "investigate reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Yemen by all parties and to identify the perpetrators of such violations". Saudi Arabia had previously objected to an inquiry being set up.More Info
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