'Blacklist Riyadh': HRW says Saudi's Yemen airstrikes are war-crimes

'Blacklist Riyadh': Saudi airstrikes on civilian targets in Yemen are 'war crimes', says HRW
2 min read
12 September, 2017
Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused the Saudi coalition fighting in Yemen of war crimes, saying airstrikes on civilian targets were carried out in violation of international law.
Saudi Arabia has carried out more than 5,676 airstrikes in Yemen in 2017. [Getty]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday accused the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen of war crimes, saying airstrikes on civilian targets were carried out deliberately or recklessly in violation of international law, calling for returning Riyadh to a 'list of shame'.

A Saudi-led coalition launched its Yemen campaign in March 2015 to oust Houthi rebels and restore to power the internationally-recognised government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed and 47,800 wounded since the Saudi-led coalition joined the war, according to the World Health Organization.

"The Saudi-led coalition's repeated promises to conduct its air strikes lawfully are not sparing Yemeni children from unlawful attacks," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

"This underscores the need for the United Nations to immediately return the coalition to its annual 'list of shame' for violations against children in armed conflict," she said.

The rights group said Saudi airstrikes had killed 39 civilians, including 26 children, in the past two months, with five targeted bombings hitting four family homes and grocery store.

The airstrikes were carried out deliberately or recklessly causing indiscriminate loss of civilian lives in violation of the laws of war, HRW said.

An airstrike on a home in Saada on 4 August killed nine members of a family, including six children aged three through 12.

A month earlier, on 3 July, an airstrike killed eight members of the same family in Taiz province, including the family's eight-year-old daughter.

HRW interviewed nine family members and witnesses to five Saudi airstrikes that took place between 9 June and 4 August and did not discover any potential military targets in the vicinity of the bombings.

The rights group called on the United Nations Security Council to launch an international investigation into the abuses at its September session.

Saudi coalition airstrikes on Yemen have increased dramatically in 2017, the UN said last month, with more than 5,676 reported airstrikes so far this year.

In 2016, Yemen saw a total of 3,936 airstrikes - a monthly average of 328.

The Saudi-led coalition has repeatedly denied allegations of war crimes and says it is targeting Houthi rebels and not civilians.