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HRW: Houthi and Saleh Forces Kill Civilians in Taiz | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A boy walks on a street littered with cooking gas cylinders after a fire and explosions destroyed a nearby gas storage during clashes between fighters of the Popular Resistance Committees and Houthi fighters, in Yemen’s southwestern city of Taiz July 19, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

London, Riyadh– At least 30 civilians died and over 160 others injured when Houthi armed groups and forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh shelled the city of Taiz, according to Human Rights Watch organization (HRW).

Over a 10-day period in May 2017, HRW documented seven attacks that killed at least 30 civilians, and wounded over 160 others, according to doctors in local hospitals.

Middle East director at Human Rights Watch Sarah Leah Whitson stated that Houthi-Saleh forces’ shelling of populated areas of Taiz has taken a terrible toll on civilians.

“Houthi-Saleh commanders should immediately halt these indiscriminate attacks, and Yemeni government forces should ensure that their own forces are not launching similarly unlawful attacks outside the city,” Whitson added in HRW statement.

Commanders of Houthi and Saleh forces could face war crimes charges for ordering attacks that indiscriminately strike Taiz’s populated neighborhoods, according to Whitson.

“All sides need to abide by the laws of war to minimize harm to civilians who have endured more than two years of fighting,” she said.

Yemeni government-affiliated forces have controlled most of Taiz city since March 2016 and has been besieged by insurgents since then.

Meanwhile, state-owned Saba news agency quoted an unnamed Russian ambassador saying that he was ready to coordinate with Houthi and Saleh insurgents to facilitate the investigation carried out by the commission in areas under their control.

This came during the meeting of National Committee to investigate allegations of human rights violations in Yemen with a number of ambassadors and representatives of the diplomatic missions in Yemen to discuss cooperation and exchange of information on human rights. The meeting also reviewed concluding results of the investigation of the National Committee from September 2016 to June 2017 mentioned in its report.

Members of the National Committee presented the ambassadors with copies of the Committee’s third report on the results of the investigations into all violations all over Yemen done by all parties, as well as explaining the types of violations and parties responsible for them.

EU representative stressed the European Commission is concerned with the human rights situation in Yemen and the need for a cooperation between the Committee and UNHCR to pressure all parties to ensure humanitarian aid access to all affected areas.

Saba stated that chairman and members of the Committee presented the methodology of the investigation procedures. They also explained that through members and specialized investigators, the committee is present in all Yemeni governorates to detect violations and ensure human rights are respected.

In addition the National Committee is committed to communicating with all parties of the conflict to reduce violations.

For their part, ambassadors of UK, Russia, Turkey and representative of Germany stressed the importance of the Committee’s efforts to protect human rights as a step forward and emphasized their support to the Committee.