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UN Report Confirms Houthi Crimes in Yemen

UN Report Confirms Houthi Crimes in Yemen

Tuesday, 28 August, 2018 - 09:45
Houthi militants in Yemen. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A United Nations report confirmed on Tuesday that the Iran-backed Houthi militias had committed vast violations throughout the regions it controls in Yemen.

The Group of Regional and International Eminent Experts on Yemen strongly suggested that the Houthis have perpetrated, and continue to perpetrate, violations and crimes under international law.

The Group Experts was mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council to carry out a comprehensive examination of the human rights situation in Yemen between September 2014 and June 2018.

The report accused the Houthis of human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment and child recruitment, and serious restrictions on freedom of expression and of belief.

The Group of Experts voiced its concern by the Houthis’ use of weapons with wide area effect in a situation of urban warfare, as the use of such weapons in an urban setting is indiscriminate. Such acts would be violations of international humanitarian law.

The Group of Experts gathered reports of shelling by Houthi militias from the Taiz highlands and areas of the city under their control resulting in the majority of civilian casualties.

It also prevented humanitarian aid and other goods that are indispensable to the civilians’ survival.

Civilians, including women and children, were hit by shelling and snipers from the Houthis while in their homes, just outside their homes, fetching water at local wells, on their way to purchase food, traveling to seek medical attention and delivering critical supplies.

Some witnesses said they were subjected to almost daily attacks in their residential neighborhoods.

Houthis have conscripted or enlisted children into armed forces or groups and used them to participate actively in hostilities. In most cases, the children were between 11 and 17 years old, but there have been consistent reports of the recruitment or use of children as young as 8 years old.

The militias forcibly recruited children in schools, hospitals and door to door. Moreover, they have used children in combat, at checkpoints and to plant explosive devices.

Since 2015, the militias of has carried out intimidation, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture of vocal critics, in addition to raids on media outlets in Sanaa.

Victims were targeted for their affiliation to political opponents. The Houthis have also frozen the assets, including bank accounts, of at least two non-governmental organizations; in one case, the account remains blocked. The Group of Experts said that at least 23 journalists are still being detained by the militias.

The report accused the Houthis of arbitrary detention and torture during detention and interrogation, this included electrocution and drowning that at times led to death. In addition, the Houthis have turned mosques, schools and homes into secret detention centers where torture has been reported.

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