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Saudi, allies used precision-guided arms in raids on Yemeni civilians: UN panel

14 January 2018 18:03

 

A UN panel has compiled a detailed report of civilian casualties caused by the Saudi military and its allies during their war against Yemen, saying the Riyadh-led coalition has used precision-guided munitions in its raids on civilian targets.

“The attacks were carried out by precision-guided munitions, so it is likely these were the intended targets,” Al Jazeera cited the UN report on human rights violations in Yemen as saying on Saturday.

The report, which has been devised for the UN Security Council, has not been made public, but Al Jazeera said it was allowed to view a copy.

It has examined 10 airstrikes that killed 157 people last year. It specified the targets as a migrant boat, a night market, five residential buildings, a motel, a vehicle, and government forces.

“Even if in some cases, the Saudi-led coalition had targeted legitimate military objectives, the panel finds it highly unlikely that the IHL (International Humanitarian Law) principles of proportionality, and precautions in attack were met,” the report stated.

The Saudi-led coalition began its military campaign against Yemen in March 2015 to bring its favored government back to power. More than 13,600 people have so far been killed in the war.

Yemeni men check the site of an air raid that hit a funeral reception in the Arhab district, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the capital Sana’a, February 16, 2017. Eight women and a child were killed and at least 10 other women wounded in the attack. (Photo by AFP)

Further, the UN panel directed strong criticism at the coalition’s other abuses inside Yemen. Those include the violations being committed inside the coalition’s incarceration camps, most notably the ones run by the United Arab Emirates, Riyadh’s most important coalition partner, on the Yemeni soil.

It cited a “widespread and systematic” pattern of “arbitrary arrests, deprivation of liberty, and enforced disappearances.”

“The report talks about beatings, electrocutions, constrained suspension, and it talks about something called the cage which is confinement in a cage in the sunlight and the denial of medical treatment,” said James Bays, Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor.

The panel finally said the militants loyal to the former government, which are promoting the coalition’s goals on the ground in Yemen, “pose a threat to peace, security and stability of Yemen,” and “will do more to further the fragility of Yemen than they will do to hold the state together.”

UN chief Antonio Guterres has called the war a “stupid one,” calling on the United States, which is a strong Saudi ally and has been backing the invasion through arms sales and logistical support, to pressure Riyadh into ending the attacks.

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