Human Rights Watch has accused Houthi putschists, and their allies, of using banned landmines in Yemen, resulting in the maiming and deaths of “hundreds of civilians.”
“Al-Houthi rebels and pro-Saleh forces have used antipersonnel landmines in at least six provinces since the Arab coalition began its operations in Yemen in March 2015,” the Organization said in a report released on Thursday.
“Houthi-Saleh forces have been flouting the landmine ban at the expense of Yemeni civilians,” Steve Goose, director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch, said.
Both Houthis and armed militants backing ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh have joined each other in their attempts to reign over Yemen. Backed by Iran, Houthis overran Sana’a in 2014 and established a coup capital there, after driving out legitimate authorities.
Yemen has banned antipersonnel mines for nearly two decades, but Iran-allied Houthis have violated the ban which led to killing and maiming hundreds of civilians, disrupting civilian life in affected areas and impeding the safe return of thousands of displaced civilians to their homes, said the Saudi state-owned news agency SPA.
Human Rights Watch also highlights that landmines will make the return of the millions of people who have fled their homes far more difficult — even after the conflict ends. However, such an end is nowhere in sight.
The use of anti-personnel landmines by Houthis and Saleh loyalists forces violates international laws of engaging in battle and such actions instate war crimes.
Human Rights Watch says that the use of landmines has been used in six governorates of Yemen since March 2015.
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines reported that at least 988 people were killed or wounded by landmines or other explosive remnants of war in Yemen in 2015.