UN report: All sides violate humanitarian law in Yemen

AP News
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Posted: Aug 05, 2016 6:15 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — All sides in Yemen's 17-month old civil war have committed violations of international humanitarian law, according to a new United Nations report that will be used to determine if further sanctions should be applied in the conflict.

The report seen by The Associated Press on Friday also found terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State group were taking advantage of the power vacuum in the country to gain a growing foothold, threatening peace and stability in Yemen.

"The panel has documented violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by the Houthi-Saleh forces, the Saudi Arabian-led coalition and forces affiliated to the legitimate government of Yemen," the report said.

The Houthis and forces allied with ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh seized Yemen's capital Sanaa in September 2014, forcing the internationally recognized government to flee the country.

A Saudi-led coalition has conducted an extensive air campaign against the Houthis since March 2015, pushing them out of southern Yemen, but failing so far to dislodge them from the capital Sanaa and the rest of the north

The experts who compiled the report, covering the last six months, were unable to travel to Yemen so all the information had to be gathered remotely.

"Ongoing international humanitarian law and international human rights laws investigations include the forced displacement of civilians by local authorities in Aden, child recruitment and maiming by Houthi-Saleh forces and the obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid in Ta'izz by Houthi-Saleh forces and the Popular Resistance forces," the report stated.

The panel found that Houthis had modified surface-to-air missiles to act as surface-to-surface rockets to attack Saudi Arabia from Yemen and that the Saudi coalition targeted civilians in at least one airstrike and said it was investigating three other attacks.