UN: Saudi Arabia showing 'disregard for civilians' in Yemen

UN accuses Saudi Arabia of showing 'disregard for human life' after deadly Yemen airstrike
2 min read
07 August, 2017
A senior UN official in Yemen has blasted a Saudi-led coalition airstrike in Saada which killed a family of nine, as Riyadh maintains silence from human rights groups.
The Saudi-led coalition's airstrike on Saada killed at least 12 civilians [AFP]

A top United Nations official in Yemen has accused the Saudi-led military coalition of showing complete "disregard" for human life after a deadly airstrike that killed at least 12 civilians on Sunday.

The dawn raid, which claimed the lives of three women and six children from the same family, took place in Yemen's northern province of Saada.

According to medical officials, the the youngest of those killed was a two-year-old infant.

"While these new incidents are still being investigated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, they are an example of the brutality in which the conflict is being conducted," said the UN's humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick. 

"All parties to the conflict continue to show a disregard for the protection of civilians and the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants in the conduct of hostilities," he added.

Various rights groups have also condemned the Saudi-led airstrike, however, Riyadh has so far declined to comment on the matter.

It is unclear whether the strike mistakenly hit the homes, however, Saudi Arabia has in the past maintained that it does not target civilians.

Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen's civil war in March 2015 in a bid to restore the authority of UN-backed President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The Houthis currently control much of the country's north, including the area where Sunday's deadly airstrike took place.

Both the Houthis and Saudi Arabia have been accused of war crimes by rights groups, including for preventing vital supplies from entering Yemen and killing civilians.

The ongoing war has plunged Yemen into one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history, with over three million people displaced and over 10,000 dead due to the conflict.

War has also unleashed a deadly cholera epidemic in the country - one which has been described by humanitarian groups as a direct result of the war.