GENEVA (9 January 2015) – Deepening insecurity and violence in Yemen are wreaking a terrible toll on civilians, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein warned on Friday, as he appealed for more international attention to be focused on the plight of Yemenis.
“The past few weeks have seen dozens of people killed in a succession of bomb attacks in Yemen. Such wanton acts of indiscriminate violence are utterly deplorable, yet – perhaps because of the violence engulfing so many other countries – relatively little attention is being paid to the situation in Yemen,” said High Commissioner Zeid.
The recent bombings include suicide attacks in Radaa in central Yemen on 16 December that left more than 20 dead, many of them schoolchildren. On 31 December, a suicide bombing claimed by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) killed at least 24 people, while on 4 January six people were killed when members of Al Houthi movement tried to defuse an explosive device planted near a girls school in Dhamar. AQAP claimed responsibility for the explosive device. On 7 January, at least 37 people died when a car bomb was detonated outside a police college in the capital, Sanaa.
“What does anyone gain by slaughtering civilians – especially children – in this way?” Zeid said. “I urge all parties in Yemen to renounce the use of violence to avoid further loss of innocent lives and take concrete steps towards the immediate and effective implementation of the peace and partnership agreement.”
In the south of Yemen, security forces are reported to have used disproportionate force, including firing live ammunition, to break up demonstrations in the second half of December. There have also been reports of several civilian deaths, including an incident in Al-Sabbar village where security forces allegedly killed three people.
“Notwithstanding the difficult situation they face, it is essential that Government security personnel halt the use of excessive force, resulting in civilian deaths, and that both government and armed groups cease carrying out arbitrary detention,” Zeid said. “Violations of international human rights law by all sides must be promptly, independently and effectively investigated to bring perpetrators to justice and ensure that victims’ right to justice and remedy is upheld,” he added.
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