GENEVA, The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday that the people of Yemen are living through a terrible humanitarian crisis.
“Every imaginable source of human misery and suffering is tied up in this single conflict, war, disease, famine, economic collapse, international terrorism, widespread human rights violations and probable war crimes,” she added in her statement during the interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s report on Yemen.
“Almost no area of daily life is untouched. Basic state services and institutions have stopped functioning. Millions of women, men and children lack access to even basic health care. Prices are rising sharply in urban areas”, she explained.
“Fuel shortages are disrupting local markets. Vital infrastructure is being damaged. People are losing their livelihoods or no longer receive their salaries.
Many families are being forced to flee their homes”, she added.
The impact on civilians has been truly devastating. Nearly 80 per cent of the population, more than 24 million people, requires some form of humanitarian assistance and protection. And more than two thirds of the country’s districts risk famine.
The civilian death toll also continues to rise. As of 5 September 2019, our staff in Yemen verified 7,508 civilian deaths, including 1,997 children, since 26 March 2015.
Bachelet said that the terrible impact of this conflict on the people of Yemen is the responsibility of all parties to the conflict.
Her Office has documented civilian deaths and injuries caused by forces and popular committees affiliated with the Houthis, by army units loyal to President Hadi, by forces aligned with the Southern Transitional Council, and by other groups.
She is particularly alarmed by the rapid deterioration of the security and human rights situation in the South, where armed clashes have taken place between the forces aligned with the Southern Transitional Council and government forces.
Since early August, my office verified 63 civilian casualties as a result of these clashes, including 25 killed and 38 injured, in Aden, Lahj, Shabwah and Abyan governorates.
The forces aligned with the Southern Transitional Council have launched a mass arrest and deportation campaign against Northerners in Aden governorate, as well as in some parts of Lahj and Abyan governorates.
Information received by my Office indicates that over a thousand of civilians with northern origins, including children, have been seized, with reports that they are to be forcibly deported to the North of Yemen.
The Office has also verified three cases of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by Security Belt forces in Aden and Lahj, Bachelet added.
According to the UN, all parties have restricted the movement of humanitarian personnel and goods.
All have attacked journalists, media workers and human rights defenders carrying out their legitimate work. All have engaged in arbitrary or illegal detentions. Many of these violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law may amount to war crimes.
It is essential to prospects for sustainable peace and reconciliation that those responsible be held to account, Bachelet said. “Our commitment to Yemen and its people will remain undiminished. My Office will continue to document violations and to strongly advocate for the perpetrators to be held to account”, she added.
The work by the Group of Eminent Experts is a significant contribution to efforts to ensure that accountability mechanisms are established for victims of the conflict.
She invited all Member States to take into consideration and implement their important recommendations.
Source: Kuwait News Agency