UN: Saudi-led airstrikes killed 115 Yemenis in eleven days

UN: Saudi-led airstrikes killed 115 Yemenis in eleven days
The UN human rights office said it has verified the killings of more than 100 civilians in Saudi-led coalition airstrikes carried out over 11 days this month.
3 min read
19 December, 2017
The Saudi-led coalition has intensified its airstrikes on Yemen since December [Getty]

The UN human rights office said it verified the killings of 115 Yemeni civilians and other non-combatants in airstrikes carried out by a Saudi-led military coalition over 11 days this month.

The office spokesman, Rupert Colville, said UN officials are “deeply concerned” about the surge in civilian casualties from airstrikes following the killing of Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh in early December.

Colville said the killings occurred in the Dec. 6-16 period in four northern provinces.

The attacks included airstrikes on Yemen’s rebel-run TV channel, a hospital in the Red Sea port city of Hodeida and a series of strikes targeting a prison in Sanaa that killed 43, he said.

On Tuesday, hundreds of world figures urged the leaders of the United States, France and Britain on to stop “stoking the flames of war” in impoverished Yemen. The statement, signed by 355 high-profile figures, marked the 1,000th day of the war, which has turned the poorest Arab country into the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

The signatories included eight Nobel peace laureates, religious leaders, Western lawmakers and rights defenders, as well as US Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Pramila Jayapal, and Congressman Ro Khanna, all Democrats.

“To prevent further catastrophe and famine, Yemen needs an immediate cease-fire; an end to all blockages on access for food, fuel and medical supplies; and investment in a new, inclusive peace process,” the statement read.

It appealed on President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron.

“If you don’t want the burden of the lives of thousands more Yemeni children on your hands, then the time to act is now. Yemen can’t wait any longer,” it said.

The appeal also called on the US Security Council to press Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates, the main pillars of the coalition, to end the war in Yemen.

Meanwhile, a British minister warned Saudi Arabia that "using starvation as a weapon" would constitute a breach of humanitarian law, as concerns continue over Riyadh's blockade of Yemen.

Speaking while on a visit to Djibouti, UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said that Saudi Arabia has "no excuse" to continue the blockade.

"It is very clear that if you are using starvation as a weapon you are in breach of international humanitarian law," Mordaunt said during a trip that included visits to Saudi Arabia and Djibouti. "And what I have seen on my visit is that what is being held up is aid."

Over the past three years, more than 10,000 people have been killed and three million displaced since the Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against Houthi rebels and their allies in March 2015. The war has also led to outbreaks of cholera and brought the country to the brink of famine.

The US-backed Saudi collation is seeking to restore Yemen’s internationally recognised government back to power.