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  • A Yemeni man sits on the rubble of a house of his relatives.

    A Yemeni man sits on the rubble of a house of his relatives. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 July 2019

All the forces in the conflict are responsible for disappearing, torturing, arbitrarily detaining thousands of people, and recruiting children.

Yemeni civilians are the main victims of the five-year conflict, paying with their lives the high cost of war, while crime perpetrators remain unaccountable, according to a new report released Tuesday by human rights organization, Mwatana.

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The situation in Yemen is the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” a spokesperson, Radhya al-Mutawakel, recalled in an interview with Al Jazeera, stating the gravity of the crisis requires that the countries interested in rebuilding Yemen support civil society before “it is totally destroyed.”

The organization insists that the humanitarian crisis and the human rights issues have to be addressed immediately and urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to create a commission of inquiry by September to determine individuals and parties responsible for violations.

As the humanitarian situation is constantly and dangerously deteriorating, Mwatana for Human Rights documented not less than 74 cases of obstructing humanitarian access and aid, blaming both Ansar Allah (Houthis) and the Saudi/UAE-led coalition forces that back the internationally recognized government, for blocking the aid at a time when “millions of civilians already living under the threat of famine.” 

In 2018 alone, Mwatana documented 52 landmines cases, killing at least 60 civilians, including 8 women and 26 children, and wounding at least 51 others, including 12 women and 21 children.

And Coalition airstrikes on civilians have not stopped, these shellings and the air attacks had targeted houses, schools, hospitals, and health facilities, killing and wounding civilians, with United States drone strikes also killing and wounding civilians. 

The organization documented about 150 coalition airstrikes in 11 governorates in 2018 that killed at least 375 civilians, including 165 children, and wounded 427 others, including 172 children. 

All the forces in the conflict are responsible for disappearing, torturing, arbitrarily detaining thousands of people, and recruiting children. It also said that many cases of sexual violence against children from the Saudi/UAE-led coalition had been reported.

The organization's spokesperson said that both parties were feeling free to act as they want to because they are never held accountable, “they just don’t care.”

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"Saudis and Emiratis are stronger by being supported by their allies: the U.S., U.K., and France," she said, adding that the " Houthis hide behind the violations of the Saudis and Emirati coalition and other armed groups."

Moreover, civilians face an even greater threat as they can not move around the country or leave it.

“The possibility for people to move inside or outside the country has dramatically decreased,” it said, adding that security checkpoints “discriminate people on their identity or exploit them financially”, while the Saudi-led coalition refuses to re-open the airport in the capital of Sanaa after closing it in 2016.

Dubbed as the “Forgotten War,” the Yemeni civil war started on March 26, 2015, when Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates led a coalition of countries in a military campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen in support of the Saudi-backed government of Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi. 

The conflict has since turned into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran. A narrative rejected by the Houthis who say that they took power from the Saudi-backed government in order to end Saudi interference into the country's affairs. 

The war in Yemen has already, according to a United Nation, claimed more than 230,000 lives.

The UAE began to scale back its military presence in June, and some experts hope that the move will be followed.

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