Health Care

Yemen Catastrophe Is Man Made

In a Tuesday report, the UN Human Rights Office urged the Human Rights Council to probe into atrocities committed during what it described as an "entirely man-made catastrophe" in its upcoming meeting this month.

On Monday, the head of the UN World Food Programme said Saudi Arabia should fund the entire humanitarian aid budget for Yemen, or end the war, or both.

Every step of the conflict, the United Kingdom has shipped weapons - totalling nearly US$4.5 billion in value - to Riyadh, with sales continuing even after the now infamous October 2016 airstrike on a Yemeni funeral, which killed 140 and injured hundreds, with Westminster approving export licenses totalling US$370 million.

Children account for 1,184 of those killed and 1,592 injured, mostly from coalition airstrikes, the report said.

The strikes targeted markets, hospitals, schools, residential areas and infrastructure, as well as funeral gatherings and civilian boats, the report says.

"I appeal to all the parties to the conflict, those supporting them and those with influence over them to have mercy on the people of Yemen", Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said.

On the ground, meanwhile, monitors said they "frequently observed" children aged as young as 10 "armed and uniformed" in the country.

Yemen is in the midst of a civil war between its Saudi-backed Sunni government and an alliance of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and other fighters loyal to Yemen's previous president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The conflict has also left 20.7 million people in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance, created the largest food security emergency in the world, and led to a cholera outbreak that is believed to have affected 600,000 people since April.

"In some cases, information suggested that no actions were taken to mitigate the impact of operations on civilians". It also said those opposing the parties to the conflict have been harassed, detained and, on occasion, tortured and killed, raising further concerns over human rights abuses.

U.N. Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein is repeating his call for an end to the fighting and for an independent, global investigation to be established.

Over the past two years, the 47-member Human Rights Council has shied away from launching an investigation into the deadly incidents in Yemen, leaving the responsibility to Yemen's National Commission, which reports to Hadi.

"An worldwide investigation would go a long way in putting on notice the parties to the conflict that the global community is watching and determined to hold to account perpetrators of violations and abuses", Hussein said in the statement. Reiterating that an global investigation into the rights violations in Yemen is crucial, Zeid concluded by appealing "to all the parties to the conflict, those supporting them and those with influence over them to have mercy on the people of Yemen, and to take immediate measures to ensure humanitarian relief for civilians and justice for the victims of violations".

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