GENEVA: The UN human rights chief on Monday warned about the escalating violence and the increasing civilian casualties in Yemen, where nearly 6,000 civilians have been killed in the three-year conflict.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in a statement on Monday that the conflict in the city of Taizz in particular was “not just escalating but inescapable” for the civilians there.
“The upsurge in fighting in the south-western Governorate of Taizz is of particular concern. Civilians are under fire on all sides, as Houthi and affiliated forces carry out sniper attacks and indiscriminate shelling, and the Saudi-led Coalition continues to conduct airstrikes,” he said.
Twenty-seven people were killed and 76 injured in Yemen between Feb. 1 and 8, more than double the confirmed number of civilian casualties from the previous week, Hussein warned.
“The actual figures are likely to be higher. Most of the casualties were attributed almost equally to the warring parties — 48 to the Coalition, and 51 to the Houthi forces. Two were killed by drones, one by Al Qaeda, and in one case the perpetrator is unknown,” he added.
Since March 2015, 5,974 civilians have been killed and 9,493 civilians injured, the UN human rights office noted.
Yemen has remained dogged by conflict since 2014, when the Shia Houthi militia overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies — who accuse the Houthis of serving as a proxy force for Shia Iran — launched a wide-ranging military campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains and shoring up Yemen’s Saudi-backed government. (AA)