Human Lives Human Rights: Two human rights groups accused Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen’s conflict of using starvation as a tactic of war. Theses groups urged the U.N. Security Council to investigate the alleged crimes in International Criminal Court.
In a sweeping 275-page report, the Yemen-based Mwatana Organization for Human Rights and another group, Global Rights Compliance, said they documented airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition that hit farms, water facilities and small fishing boats during fighting with the Houthi rebels.
The report also documented the restrictions on humanitarian activities, which deprived civilians in areas under their control of “indispensable aid, including food.”
The civil war in Yemen erupted in 2014, when the Houthis swept across much of the north and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi into exile. The following year, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states formed a coalition and entered the war on the side of Hadi’s government.
All warring sides are accused of atrocities in the conflict, which has killed more than 130,000 people and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Spokespersons for the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis did not answer calls seeking comment.
The report focused on the impact on access to food and water caused by attacks and other conduct by the Saudi-led coalition in the provinces of Hajjah, Saada, Hodeida and Taiz between 2015 and 2021.
The report said in spite of widespread knowledge of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, the warring sides have “severely impeded civilians’ access to food and water, and they acted where people, including children, were dying from starvation.”
Mwatana said it documented some 580 airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition between March 2015 and Aug. 2021 that killed and injured thousands of civilians, and damaged and destroyed civilian property in 19 of Yemen’s 22 provinces. Ninety of these airstrikes hit farms, livestock, agricultural land, tools and equipment, food stores and vehicles in the past six years, it said.
The two rights groups said further investigation is needed to identify the individuals to be held accountable for the alleged use of starvation as a tactic in the conflict. They urged the U.N. Security Council to refer Yemen to the ICC to investigate possible war crimes in the country.