The Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) strongly condemns the recent firing of ballistic missiles by the pro-Iranian militia in Yemen who targeted many residential areas in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh. One person was killed and two others wounded. This confirms the negative and dangerous role played by the State of Iran in supporting these terrorist militias to undermine efforts to reach a peaceful solution. This strategy aims at prolonging the Yemeni crisis while strengthening its hostile practices by supplying the Houthi militias with sophisticated weapons and a platform for the launching of missiles that threaten peace and security in the region.
The official spokesman of the Coalition for the Support of Legitimacy in Yemen has reported that the Saudi Royal Air Defense Forces intercepted and destroyed seven (7) Houthi missile rockets fired at Saudi Arabia. Three of the missiles were fired toward Riyadh, two toward Jazan, and one each toward Khamis Mushayt and Najran, all civilian populated areas.
The spokesman for the civil defense in the Riyadh area confirmed that the civil defense teams began assembling the fallen fragments of the ballistic missiles after its obstruction and destruction, in residential neighborhoods in different locations. A shrapnel hit a residential house in the death of a resident and wounded two others, all of them Egyptian nationals.
AFHR also expresses its deep concern at the deliberate targeting of densely populated civilian areas by the Houthi militias, which reflects clear and explicit planning and intent to deliberately inflict harm and cause enormous loss of civilian life. This represents a serious and flagrant violation of human rights instruments and international humanitarian law and their values. It is also a direct breach of legal principles that prohibits targeting civilian places and spare civilians the scourge of war and fighting.
In May 2017, the Houthis fired a rocket at Riyadh a day before US President Donald Trump’s visit to the city, but it fell 200 kilometers from Riyadh. On November 2017, Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile near King Khalid International Airport in the capital. On December 19, the Houthi militias fired a ballistic missile towards populated areas of the city of Riyadh but were intercepted and destroyed without any casualties.
The Arab Federation for Human Rights asserts that the repeated firing of ballistic missiles at Saudi by the Houthi militias is clear evidence of its continuous use of the ports allocated for relief work in the smuggling of Iranian missiles to Yemen in all ways and means. This is in clear violation of relevant United Nations resolutions. This equally highlights the fact that the logistical support of the Houthi militias by Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia is part of an Iranian agenda aimed at dominating the region thereby threatening its stability and human security. The results of an earlier examination of the remains of those shrapnel proved to be from an Iranian industry, confirming Iran’s intervention in the Yemeni crisis and its violation of Security Council Resolution 2216, which stipulates that the militias should not be armed in Yemen.
AFHR calls upon the international community, the Human Rights Council, and Arab and international human rights organizations to condemn the recurrence of this crime, which expresses an explicit approach to intentionally target civilians by the Houthi militias, and to prosecute and hold accountable those who planned or ordered them and those who perpetrated them as criminals against humanity. It also calls on the international community to act quickly to stop the Iranian subversive practices in the region and to punish those responsible for violations that violate the rights and security of the citizens of the region.
Arab Federation for Human Rights
Geneva, March 26th 2018