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Saudi-led coalition destroyed 200 Yemen factories: report

The Saudi-led coalition has been accused of war crimes in Yemen [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 August, 2020

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A new rebel-held ministry report blamed the Saudi-led coalition for exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where air strikes have destroyed 200 factories.
The Saudi-led coalition has destroyed at least 200 factories and production facilities in Yemen, where much of the country’s infrastructure has already been decimated.

A recent report revealed Yemen’s industries had suffered severe damages due to multiple coalition air strikes, aiding in the deteriorating circumstances across the country, including poverty, chronic unemployment, war and raging conflict.

According to the report issued by the Houthi-controlled ministry of industry and trade, the attacks had completely paralysed the industrial movement, The New Arab’s sister Arabic-news platform Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

By targeting the facilities, the coalition had struck Yemen’s economy and greatly impacted the people’s livelihoods, a rebel source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

In a previous reports, the Yemeni private sector had estimated some two billion dollars in damage to the industrial sector in the country.

The reports lay 55 percent of the blame on direct coalition attacks, shortly followed by indirect strikes at 35 percent, while 10 percent was a result of clashes.
Tamim Al-Saqqaf, director of the Commercial and Industrial Department in the Sana'a Capital Secretariat, confirmed that the private sector has been severely affected, despite its neutrality and lack of links to any of the parties to the conflict.

More than 100,000 people have been killed since the conflict intensified with the Saudi-led coalition military intervention in March 2015, while millions have been displaced internally and externally.

Some 24 million Yemenis - four-fifths of the population - are dependent on some form of humanitarian aid.

The Saudi-led, US-backed coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognised government is battling Houthi Shia rebels and their allies. The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since September 2014, and their advance across the Arab world’s poorest country brought the Saudi-led coalition into the war in March 2015.

The Houthis remain on the UN “list of shame” for failing to put in place measures to improve the protection of children though secretary-general Guterres said in the report he is encouraged by ongoing UN talks with the rebel group “to end and prevent violations for which they are listed.”

In June, two dozen human rights and humanitarian organisations urged Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to reconsider his decision to take the Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government off a global blacklist of parties whose actions have killed or injured children in conflict.

The 24 non-governmental organisations said they were “deeply disappointed and troubled” by the de-listings and “dismayed” at the disparities between information in his annual report on children in armed conflict released a week ago and his decisions on the blacklist.

“The report found the Saudi-led coalition was responsible for killing or maiming 222 children in Yemen in 2019,” the letter said. “Yet the coalition was de-listed from the report’s annexes, citing a `sustained significant decrease' in casualties during the year and progress in implementing a memorandum of understanding that was signed in March of last year.”

Read also: Yemen's last remaining Jews 'to move to UAE' following Israel treaty

In 2016, then secretary-general Ban Ki-moon removed the Saudi-led coalition from the blacklist of government forces that committed grave violations against children the previous year following a vehement protest from Saudi Arabia.

Guterres added a new list of government forces and armed groups that have taken measures to improve the situation of children in 2017, which the Saudis were put on and remained on last year.

The NGOs said: “It appears that the goalpost with regards to listing and de-listing continually changes to accommodate a predetermined outcome: not upsetting powerful UN member states.”

The 24 organisations said the “omissions and discrepancies” damage the credibility of the report, which is an important tool to improve the protection of children in conflict.

They called for “an accurate and evidence-based list” that reflects the evidence that has been collected and verified.

They also urged the secretary general to reconsider de-listing the Saudi-led coalition from the 2020 report.

Among the letter’s signatories were Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, Medecins du Monde, Norwegian Refugee Council, Save the Children, Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, Women’s Refugee Commission and World Vision International.

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