Sana’a, January 23, 2017: Activists and human rights organizations documented horrifying human rights violations committed during the armed events witnessed in Yemen in early 2015. Accusations were directed against many parties, especially the Houthis and the former President Saleh’s affiliated forces. These violations were committed during their territorial military expansion towards the cities. They oppressed armed operations encountered along their expansion with a complete absence of governmental and non-governmental institutions responsible for investigating in these incidents.
In Aden province, Wogood Foundation for Human Security, a local human rights organization, documented 1,998 cases of anti-civilian violation attacks committed by the Houthi and Saleh-affiliated forces during their military territorial advance to Aden city. This number included 322 deaths, 256 injuries, along with other humanitarian violations against civilians.
On May 6, 2015, Houthi and Saleh-affiliated forces committed a humanitarian massacre against the civilians who were trying to escape the war in Aden. The forces showered with bullets the crowd of civilian people who were waiting to flee the area on a boat, they were on the edge of the port of Towahi in Aden.
Many human rights organizations reported immense difficulties that prevented the documentation of this incident, and getting the precise number of total fatalities. However, they were able to document horrifying testimonies from the survivors.
Amnesty International said that it has collected some evidence of the use of mortars on civilians by the Houthis. They also attacked two medical doctors and medical institutions in Aden city.
In related cases, Amnesty International said that scores of civilians were killed as a result of the anti-aircraft munitions shot by the Houthi group.
In Dar Sa’ad, Aden province, Houthi and Saleh militias targeted a local market with rocket propelled grenades on July 20, 2015. They killed 57 civilians, including 12 children and six women, and injured 215 others; 25 children and 15 women, according to al-Khadhar Laswar, the general manager of the health office in Aden city.
In Sana’a, the anti-aircraft munitions were shot by the Houthi militia to respond to the Arab coalition airstrikes and exploded on residential neighborhoods killing civilians and deforming others.
Amnesty International quoted a doctor from al-Thawarah Hospital in Sana’a saying that the overwhelming majority (around 90 per cent) of the received cases of the wounded patients had been injured by the anti-craft munitions.
Amnesty International stated that its staff spoke to the people from the neighborhoods and the medical staff at nine of the city hospitals. They all confirmed that the “leading cause of casualties in the capital” is due to the anti-aircraft weapons. However, the attacks led by the Saudi-led coalition on the weapons depots in residential areas caused casualties amongst civilians as a result of the explosions of those depots.
Besides casting a severe siege on Taiz forced by the Houthi/Saleh forces, they have also carried out random and fatal shelling on residents and the residential neighborhoods in the city. Thousands of casualties were reported, according to estimates of human rights organizations.
The Coalition for Humanitarian Relief in Taiz – a coalition of several non-governmental organizations in Taiz- said that the random shelling on the residential neighborhoods in Taiz and the surrounding villages by the Houthi and Saleh forces resulted in killing 1,231 civilians including women and children during the year 2016.
In 2015, The Humanitarian Centre for Rights and Development, a human rights NGO, issued a report stating that the troops of Saleh and Houthis killed approximately 1,535 civilians in Taiz city for the period from March 25 to November 30, 2015.
The Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations (YCMHRV) in Yemen, which consisted of ten Yemeni human rights NGOs, said that the random shelling over the residential and populated neighborhoods in various areas in some Yemeni cities by the Houthi/Saleh forces resulted in killing 10,668 civilians including thousands of women and children during the period from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2016, as they killed 8,202 civilian during 2015 and 2,466 civilian during 2016.
Taiz faced bloody massacres committed by the Houthi and Saleh troops in Taiz City. Yet, the worst two were on October 21 and 22, 2015 when more than 10 Katyusha rockets were fired on Jamal Street, markets, and crowded residential neighborhoods. This resulted in the deaths of more than 15 civilians including three children and injuring more than 75; 12 are children whose injuries are critical.
In Taiz city, Rights Radar documented 84 incidents of random shelling committed by the Houthi and Saleh militias against civilians between May 22, 2015 until January 5,2016. The massive shelling resulted in killing 813 civilians including 303 children and 87 women. Some of the neighborhoods targeted by the Houthi and Saleh forces in Taiz city are: Jamal street, al-Kawthar, Al-Masbah, Al-Dahi, Tha’abat, Al-Nusairiah, al-Salakhanah, al-Dharbah, Osaifirah, Al-Ikhwah, Wadi al-Qadhi, Al-Bab Al-Kabeer, Al-Bara’im school, Al-Jahmaliah, Wadi al-Madam, Delux, al-Dhabu’ah, Al-Awadhi, Al-Jumhori, Al-Rawdhah, and al-Moghtarebeen.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights decried the killing in a statement and hold the armed popular committee belonging to al-Houthi responsible. It also expressed its concerns over the deteriorating humanitarian situations in Taiz city, as a result of the setup of checkpoints installed by the Houthis and Saleh forces since April 2015. Houthi and Saleh-affiliated forces restricted the mobility of the civilians from and to Taiz city and controlled it by the roads leading to it. They also cut the main roads from Sana’a, Aden, Ibb, Lahj and Hodeida.
On June 21, 2016, the Houthi/Saleh forces fired artillery shells targeting a residential gathering in Wadi al-Madam in Taiz. They killed more than four civilians including three women. They are: Fahd Mahmmed Qassim al-Fakih, 45, Mona Mohammed Othman al-Youfsifi, 44, Ishraq Mohammed Ali al-Shaibani, 35, Samar Mahmmed Ali al-Shaibani, 35, Khawlah al-Shaibani, 13. Three others were injured.
In June 2016, Houthi and Saleh forces escalated their random shelling on the residential neighborhood in Taiz, and at the same time the Kuwait UN-sponsored peace negotiations began.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has strongly condemned the series of rocket attacks and the mortar shells on many residential neighborhoods, and markets in Taiz city. These attacks took place between June 3 and 8, 2016, killing 18 civilians, including seven children and the injury of 68 others.
Since the armed confrontations started in Taiz city in April 2015, no day passes without casualties occurring in Taiz as a result of the random shelling by the Houthi and Saleh forces either by mortars or shooting people.