Saudi airstrikes intentionally crippling Yemen's economy, warns HRW

Saudi airstrikes intentionally crippling Yemen's economy, warns HRW
2 min read
11 July, 2016
The Saudi-led war on Houthis in Yemen has not only killed thousands of civilians, but has also drastically crippled the country's economy, a new Human Rights Watch report has said.
Yemen is already the poorest country in the Middle East [AFP]
More than 100 civilians have been killed in Saudi Arabia-led bombing raids on civilian factories in Yemen, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday, noting both humanitarian and economic damage caused by the conflict.

In a 59-page report entitled Bombing Business, HRW accused the coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen of illegally attacking civilian economic sites.

The New York based watchdog called for an independent international inquiry into the "17 apparently unlawful airstrikes on 13 civilian economic sites" which killed 130 civilians and wounded 171.

The Saudi Arabia-led Arab coalition – which also includes Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Qatar Sudan and the United Arab Emirates – had "unlawfully hit numerous factories, warehouses and other civilian economic structures in Yemen," the report suggested.

"In the absence of credible and impartial investigations in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other coalition members should agree to an independent international inquiry into these and other allegedly unlawful attacks," it added.

More than 2,500 people, and hundreds of workers have "lost their livelihoods" after airstrikes forced the facilities out of business – a move intended to detriment the already dwindling economy, HRW believes.

"The repeated coalition airstrikes on civilian factories appear intended to damage Yemen's shattered economy long into the future," said HRW's senior emergencies researcher Priyanka Motaparthy.

"Saudi Arabia and other coalition members have shown no interest in investigating unlawful attacks, or even compensating the victims for lives and property lost," said Motaparthy, who authored the report.

Over the past 15 months, more than 6,400 people have been killed. Bombardments, landmines and shelling have destroyed schools, clinics, businesses, farms and markets with one in four companies having closed, and 70 percent of the workforce laid off.

The country’s economy is in crisis, with food prices up to 60 percent higher on average than before the conflict, pushing the basics beyond the reach of many. Three million women and children under five are suffering from malnutrition.

"The scale of suffering for millions in Yemen is staggering with half the country going to bed hungry every night because of astronomical food prices. Since the beginning of the conflict, regular bombing and shelling have forced 2.8 million people from their homes, while the economy is in tatters," Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB Chief Executive said earlier this month.

Last month, Amnesty International and HRW called on UN member states to suspend Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council over the killing of civilians in Yemen, stating the kingdom does not deserve a seat on the UN Human Rights council.