Six months after the devastating conflict in Yemen began, Amensty International is urging the international community not to ignore the gross human rights abuses being committed by all sides in the country and is pushing for the creation of a UN Commission of Inquiry.
The human rights organisation said in a statement that more than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the conflict and the violence has caused a desperate humanitarian crisis, which is escalating. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced from their homes.
Many of the civilian deaths have allegedly been caused by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which is backed by the USA and the UK. This has included the use of banned cluster munitions, which are indiscriminate and have often originated from USA.
Cluster munitions are prohibited under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which 116 countries have joined. However, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the nine other countries that make up the Saudi-led coalition have not.
Earlier this month Oxfam also released a statement which claimed that support given to Saudi Arabia by the UK Government is fuelling the conflict and is potentially violating both domestic and international laws on the sales of arms. While the the country is not directly involved in the bombing of Yemen, UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia are potentially contributing to the high number of civilian deaths.
Amnesty reports that the Huthi armed group and their opponents have also committed human rights abuses and endangered civilians through ground fighting which has included attacks on residential areas and the shelling of towns and cities.
Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director James Lynch said: “In the six months since the Saudi Arabia-led coalition began their campaign in Yemen, all sides have displayed a callous disregard for civilian life.
“With no end to this deadly conflict in sight and a spiralling humanitarian crisis, civilian suffering is at an all-time high. The international community must seize this moment to establish a credible, international inquiry that offers hope for accountability and justice for victims of serious violations and abuses in Yemen.
“Instead of providing logistical and military assistance to coalition forces that have committed serious violations, these influential members of the international community should seek to hold perpetrators of such violations to account.
“Any countries supplying arms to any party of the conflict must not authorise any transfer where there is an overriding risk the arms would be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.”