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Yemen: Civilians bearing brunt of ‘absurd war'

28 December 2017 – After separate airstrikes on a crowded market and a rural farm left nearly 70 people dead earlier this week in Yemen, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country denounced the incidents and reminded the warring parties of their international legal obligations to spare civilian lives and infrastructure.

“These incidents prove the complete disregard for human life that all parties, including the Saudi-led Coalition, continue to show,” Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, stated Thursday.

Denouncing “this absurd war,” he said the conflict has only resulted in the destruction of the country and” the incommensurate suffering of its people, who are being punished as part of a futile military campaign by both sides.”

Initial reports from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) indicate that on 26 December, airstrikes on a crowded popular market in Al Hayma sub-district in Attazziah district, in Yemen’s war-ravaged central Taiz Governorate, resulted in at least 54 civilians killed, including eight children, and 32 others injured including six children.

During the past days, residential areas in Al Hayma villages, including a health unit occupied by internally displaced persons, have been subject to a full blockade by the de facto authorities and indiscriminate shelling that resulted in casualties among the residents and displacement of many families to safer areas.

Also on 26 December, an airstrike on a farm in Attohayta District, Al Hudaydah Governorate resulted in the killing of 14 people from the same family. These new victims are in addition to 84 civilian casualties reported in the last 10 days, including 41 people killed, and 43 people injured by airstrikes in several governorates throughout Yemen.

“I remind all parties to the conflict, including the Saudi-led Coalition, of their obligations under International Humanitarian Law to spare civilians and civilian infrastructure and to always distinguish between civilian and military objects,” said Mr. McGoldrick.

He noted that the Yemen conflict has hit the grim 1,000-day mark. Civilians have borne the brunt of the fighting, and “I once again remind all parties that it has no military solution. There can only be a political solution.”


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