In October 2017, a Yemeni citizen died under "severe torture" inside a secret prison run by the United Arab Emirates in the south of Yemen. As videos showed, the body of Ahmed Dubba revealed disturbing signs of torture after it was released from Khanfar Prison. According to media reports, UAE forces in Yemen had carried out a detention campaign against religious scholars and preachers who opposed their presence in the country where prisoners were subject to physical and psychological torture. According to Yemeni rights group Sam, the issue of secret prisons in Yemen has become a regular phenomenon.
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
On 4 September a Houthi OTR-21 Tochka missile hit an ammunition dump at a military base in Safer in Ma'rib Governorate killing 52 UAE, 10 Saudi and 5 Bahraini soldiers. The Safer base was being built up by coalition forces for a push against Sanaa. "It was the deadliest single attack on coalition soldiers since the start of its operation against Houthi rebels in March" Asseri said. The attacked was the highest casualty loss in the history of the UAE military. Qatar deployed 1000 troops to Yemen after the incident.More Info
On 8 October 2016, Saudi-led airstrikes targeted a hall in Sanaʽa where a funeral was taking place. At least 140 people were killed and about 600 were wounded. According to The Independent, one rescuer said: "The place has been turned into a lake of blood." After initially denying it was behind the attack, the Coalition's Joint Incidents Assessment Team admitted that it had bombed the hall but claimed that this attack had been a mistake caused by bad information. After this attack, US national security spokesperson said that the US government was "deeply disturbed" by the bombing and added that US support for the Saudi-led coalition was "not a blank cheque". He added "we have initiated an immediate review of our already significantly reduced support to the Saudi-led Coalition." The United Nations humanitarian co-ordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said he was "shocked and outraged" by the "horrific" bombing. "This violence against civilians in Yemen must stop," he said.More Info
The Saudi embassy in London, in early February 2016, advised United Nations and other aid organizations to move their offices and staff away from "regions where the Houthi militias and their supporters are active and in areas where there are military operations". It claimed this was in order to "protect the international organizations and their employees". The UN refused to pull out the humanitarian aid workers and protested against the Saudi demands. On 7 February 2016, the UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien wrote to Saudi Arabia's UN Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi, pointing out that Saudi Arabia is obligated under international law to permit access, and has "duty of care obligations under the conduct of military operations for all civilians, including humanitarian workers".More Info
In February 2016, Amnesty International (AI) reported that it had investigated the circumstances and impact of more than 30 air strikes of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in Sanaʽa, Hodeidah, Hajjah and Sa'da. They believed that the coalition was intentionally striking civilian targets. On 24 April 2015, Amnesty International said that airstrikes hit five densely populated areas (Sa'dah, Sanaʽa, Hodeidah, Hajjah and Ibb), and "raise concerns about compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law." Their research indicates that there were at least 97 civilian deaths, including 33 children, and 157 civilians were wounded.More Info
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