AFHR Condemns Crimes Committed by Houthis Rebels in Sana’a and Criticizes the International Silence Over Their Destructive Activities in Yemen Three Years On

Houthi fighters react after Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed, in Sanaa, Yemen December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
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AFHR Condemns Crimes Committed by Houthis Rebels in Sana’a and Criticizes the International Silence Over Their Destructive Activities in Yemen Three Years On

The Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) strongly condemns of the sharp escalation of crimes ad violence committed  by the Houthis militias since the end of last week in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a. They carried out assassinations and armed attacks that resulted in hundreds of deaths and injuries at a time when Yemeni people are experiencing one of the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world.

The Arab Federation for Human Rights appalled by the shameful and inhumane silence of the international community towards this humanitarian crimes being committed by these militias against civilians throughout Yemen for three years. AFHR is shocked by their failure to intervene to stop the Iranian-backed coup d’état staged by the Houthis who have committed a series of war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as breached the rules of law and provisions of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

During the past six days, the Houthis rebels have targeted civilians on the streets of Sanaa, killing their identity after storming the homes of tribal and pro-CPP leaders in the Yemeni capital. Heavy fighting erupted around the diplomatic area in Sanaa, according to the United Nations. Military tanks deployed in the streets confirmed that the fighting moved from Sanaa to “Hajjah” and other provinces. This has resulted in the suspension of relief convoys and flights to Sanaa. These attacks equally resulted in the killing of 250 people and injuring hundreds of others. It also caused the assassination of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was executed on the ground despite surrendering. This constitutes a flagrant violation of international humanitarian laws because he was among the prisoners of war.

“The situation has witnessed a new and dangerous development with the killing of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and a number of leaders of the General People’s Congress, including Secretary-General Arif Zuka, head of the delegation of the Conference,” said Ahmed Ali, the powerful former military commander of Yemen’s elite Republican Guards. “These events will make a major difference in political alliances in Yemen.”

“We are deeply concerned about the continuing violence in the city of Sanaa, where armed clashes have continued unabated over the past few days,” said Jimmy McGoldrick, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, in a press release.

“The streets of Sanaa have become battlegrounds, people are being held in their homes to be unable to go out in search of safety, medical care and access to basic supplies such as food, fuel and potable water,” the statement said. The statement also stated that “ambulances and medical teams cannot reach the injured due to the ongoing clashes, with reports that some medical workers have been attacked.” Aid workers cannot move and carry out life-saving operations while millions of Yemenis depend on survival assistance. Humanitarian organizations are receiving desperate appeals to help the besieged families in neighborhoods gripped by Houthis.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) described the situation in the Yemeni capital Sanaa as bitter because of the clashes. The committee’s office in Yemen said that thousands of residents of the capital Sana’a are stuck in their homes with little food or water and cannot leave for fear of clashes since last Wednesday, and that pregnant women could not reach the hospital for fear of their lives.

Al-Houthi militias also committed another massacre against the children of Taiz, where they bombed a children’s compound west of Taiz, which resulted in the death of five children and injuring more than three others. This is a new humanitarian crime, adding to a series of violations perpetrated by the Houthi group against civilians in Taiz and Yemen.

The Arab Federation for Human Rights calls on the United Nations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Security Council and international organizations not to remain silent about the continuing organized crimes committed by the Houthi militias against civilians in Yemen, in the absence of control by the legitimate authority after the rebels  staged a coup against the legal government and took control over many areas in Yemen.

It also calls on the international community to act quickly and exert pressure by all means to deter these coup militias to stop their crimes and violations, impose peace and security in Yemen and support the efforts of the legitimate authority to complete the transitional process in accordance with the UN resolutions and the Gulf initiative.

The AFHR equally demands that the Houthis be held accountable for the systematic crimes they have commit against Yemeni civilians, to refer the perpetrators to the International Criminal Court, to prosecute war criminals from the Houthis militias and to ensure that they do not go unpunished which will bring justice to the victims and promote international peace and security.


Arab Federation for Human Rights

Geneva, December 6th 2017

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