Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Liz Throssell
We have frequently briefed about the devastating impact that Yemen’s armed conflict, which began in 2015, has had on civilians. But for the past two months, a truce has meant the people of Yemen have seen violence and hostilities decrease.
It is therefore all the more welcome from our human rights perspective that parties to the conflict – the internationally recognised government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Ansar Allah movement – have now agreed to extend the truce for a further two months.
Between 2 April and 1 June, the UN Human Rights Office in Yemen, as part of its ongoing work monitoring and documenting civilian casualties, gathered preliminary information indicating that at least 19 civilians were killed and 32 injured in some 20 incidents of conflict-related violence.
The majority of these casualties were caused by landmines, including improvised mines, and explosive remnants of war.This underscores the threat these devices pose to civilians, often over long periods of time, causing death or serious injury. Children are especially at risk. From 2 April to 1 June, three children were reported to have been killed and another 12 injured in this manner.
Given the widespread use of landmines, despite their indiscriminate effects, and the presence of unexploded ordnance, particularly in Hudaydah, this trend is unfortunately expected to continue as people venture into contaminated areas. We urge all parties to the conflict to cooperate with, and provide full and safe access to, humanitarian demining teams. We also call on all regional and international actors involved in the Yemeni conflict to ensure that effective demining operations and mine awareness activities, particularly in schools, are adequately funded.
Despite the truce, our Office recorded four incidents of shooting by snipers that resulted in the killing of three civilians, including one woman, and serious injury to two civilians, including a boy, in areas under the control of the Government close to the frontlines in Al Dalee and Ta’izz governorates.
Two incidents were also documented in which weapons fired from drones injured four civilians, including a girl –- again in areas controlled by the Government close to the frontlines.
We urge the parties to make serious efforts to ensure that roads into the city of Ta’izz are reopened. Ta’izz has essentially been under siege by Ansar Allah since 2015. There is a current dire humanitarian situation there. People face huge challenges in getting water, buying food and accessing medical services. Many in Ta’izz, as in other areas of Yemen, have experienced great trauma during the conflict from high levels of armed violence, and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including attacks targeting civilians.
There are reports that parties to the conflict may be regrouping in case military operations resume. We call on them to adhere to the terms of the truce in good faith and to refrain entirely from recruitment campaigns aimed at bringing children into their ranks – an unlawful practice that contravenes the commitments made by all parties.
The UN Human Rights Office will continue to monitor and document the harm caused to civilians by residual conflict-related violence and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.