Yemen: The 3 Years of War Cause a (Deadly Blockade) on Civilians, which Destroyed the Life More than the Shilling

The Hague, March 23, 2018:

The Netherlands-based Arabs’ human rights foundation Rights Radar (RR), released today, a report marking the 3rd. anniversary of the armed conflict in Yemen, between Houthi/Saleh militants and government forces, supported by Saudi-led coalition.

RR said in its report titled (Yemen: The Deadly Blockade), that “the three years of the war in Yemen caused a deadly siege, which made massive destruction in the life, more than the destruction of the weapons shelling”.

The death toll from the 3-year war in Yemen is about 27,000 people, including at least 15,500 civilians, in all Yemeni provinces. This is in addition to 58,000 wounded, including at least 35,000 civilian casualties, according to the RR report.

The war also lefts more than 2,980 people with various disabilities, among them 1,377 civilians, most of them victims of landmine explosions planted by Houthi militants in several provinces and areas under their control.

The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen is more than 3.2 million. The number of refugees and stranded people outside Yemen is about 650,000 people. More than 750 people have been forcibly disappeared, most of them politicians, activists and journalists.

Rights Radar monitored thousands of detainees in the provinces under the control of the Houthi group or under the control of the government and the UAE forces in the southern provinces, arrested as a part of the severe political siege over the past 3 years. The estimated amount of prisoners in various parties’ prinsons is 18,000 prisoner, most of them detaind during the last 3 years.

More than 26,000 houses have been damaged, entirely or partially, and more than 6,800 public and private facilities have been damaged by the war since March 2015.

Freedom of expression and freedom of the press faced the worst crackdown in Yemen by the Houthi militants in the northern provinces and by the pro-UAE forces in the southern provinces. More than 60 media outlets were raided, looted, seized and closed, and 24 journalists and media professionals were killed, most of them by Houthi militants.

The Houthi group arrested dozens of journalists in the capital Sana’a and in other cities under its control. Sixteen of them are still in detention and some of them have spent nearly three years in their detention centers. The group sentenced a journalist to death for the first time ever in Yemen.

At least three journalists were arrested in the southern provinces under government control. More than 1,000 journalists were forced to flee their home cities or to leave Yemen, to avoid abduction, enforced disappearance, detention or murder.

The Houthi militants destroyed more than 860 mosques and 48 religious schools that were teaching the Koran, and sentenced to death a Baha’i follower, who was arrested along with six other followers of the Baha’i community in Sana’a.

Sana’a has been subjected to large-scale arrests of journalists and media professionals by the Houthi militants, while journalists are also being harassed in the southern provinces which are under the control of the government and the influence of UAE forces.

Thousands of politicians and activists who opposed the Houthi group have been arbitrarily detained in Sana’a over the past three years, most of them from the Yemeni Islah Party.

Moreover, a campaign of arrests recently targeted the leaders of the General People’s Congress (GPC) party after the killing of its founder and president Ali Abdullah Saleh, on December 4, 2017 by the Houthi militants.

At least 391 non-governmental organizations, foundations and charities have been closed or have been disrupted by harassment and siege, in particular by Houthi militants in the capital Sana’a and in other provinces under their control.

On the other side, in the southern provinces under the control of the government and the influence of the UAE forces, more than 20 clerics were killed in Aden alone and one in the city of Tarim in Hadramout, as well as many media professionals, activists and politicians arrested and media outlets attacked during the past three years.

The attacks in the south included the headquarters of political parties, in particular Islah party, which 26 of attacks reported on its offices and institutions in various southern provinces during the last 3 years, as a part of suppression of freedoms there.

In the health sector, more than 55% hospitals and health centers have been closed and medical services suspended, either because of Houthi bombardments or Saudi-led coalition air raids. This was also due to the blockade, which created tough conditions for the work atmosphere.

Education has also collapsed in the last three years, as the educational process has been severely disrupted at all levels. The education system has failed in more than 35% of public and private schools and universities, as a result of the entire or partial destruction of at least 2,231 schools, universities and educational facilities, or as a result of them being stormed by militants and used as posts for fighters or as shelters for civilian IDPs.

Economically, material damage to infrastructure only during the last three years of war and siege has been estimated by at least 30 billion US$. It is believed that the economic losses that affected the commercial and industrial sector in Yemen, is too much higher and above this amount.

RR said the Houthi militants and the Saudi-led Arab coalition are fully responsible for the deadly blockade on civilians in Yemen.

It calls upon the United Nations and the international community to step up to its ethical and legal responsibilities by working urgently to put an end to the war and siege on civilians in Yemen and to protect them from repeating the tragedy.


Rights Radar spokesperson to Media:

  • Gerard van der Kroon, International Relations Officer (Amsterdam).

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