Countless Areas Contaminated with Explosives in Yemen

Continuous fall of civilian victims
December 4, 2022

Countless Areas Contaminated with Explosives in Yemen

Continuous fall of civilian victims
December 4, 2022
© Khuyut

Almost every part of ​​Yemen has explosives buried in large swaths of land across the country - including populated areas due to the ongoing conflict since 2015.

Since the beginning of November, Khuyut have monitored more than 5 incidents in separate dates of landmine victims in more than one governorate, including two children; (Hail Mohsen, 14 years old - and Fouad Maasali, 15 years old) who were killed as a result of a landmine explosion while they were passing by on a motorcycle in a secondary road in the "Al Haet" area, Al-Durayhimi district, Al-Hodeidah. Similarly, in Ma’rib Governorate, a civilian was killed and another injured as a result of a projectile explosion of remnants of war in the “Al-Mahgaza” area in the Serwah district. In addition, a woman (Muqbel Ali, 19 years old) was killed as a result of a mine explosion while she was grazing livestock (sheep) in the Rahum area, Jabal Murad district, south of Marib Governorate.

Moreover, the child (Ali Awadh Al-Jarmi, 15 years old) was severely injured, and one of his feet was amputated, as a result of a landmine explosion in the village of "Ammar" in the district of Na'aman in Al-Baidha governorate.

Further, two civilians from one family were injured in Al-Jawf, as a result of a mine explosion near their house in Al-Matoon district in Al-Jawf governorate, while another civilian was injured in Jabal Murad district in Marib, and an elderly man in Al-Mina district in Al-Hodeidah.

The suffering of civilians in Yemen, men and women, continues due to what is being committed by the parties to the conflict, the Ansar Allah armed group (Houthis), the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the internationally recognized Yemeni government, the forces of the Transitional Council and the UAE-backed joint forces; of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

Many civilians in Yemen have been victims as a result of the use of various explosive weapons in populated areas, including indiscriminate projectiles, mines, ballistic missiles, and even smart weapons such as laser-guided bombs and drones. 

Last September 2022, the United Nations Mission in Support of the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), expressed its deep concern about the continuing deaths and injuries among civilians caused by explosive ordnance in the Yemeni governorate of Hodeidah.

Dozens of life facilities were destroyed, including homes, schools, hospitals, wedding and funeral locations, farms, factories, and cultural properties. Each of these notables has a meaning in the lives of Yemeni men and women.

Since the start of the conflict in Yemen in 2014, Mwatana Organization for Human Rights has documented no less than 800 air strikes, more than 700 ground attacks, and more than 300 mine explosions. Mwatana also documented explosions caused by explosive devices and the use of drones and ballistic missiles.

In addition, more than 3,000 civilians, both male and female, were killed in these attacks, and more than 4,000 others were wounded.

Civilian objects were also damaged and destroyed. In the “Hunger Makers” report, Mwatana documented how parties to the conflict used explosive weapons, such as in air strikes and mines, as a tool to starve civilians.

The ongoing war since 2015 has affected all aspects of daily life in Yemen. Warring parties have killed civilians attending weddings and funerals, targeted fishermen working on their boats at sea, and peaceful families in their homes. The warring parties also inflicted extensive damage on basic public infrastructure, including markets, schools, farms, and hospitals.

Mwatana Organization for Human Rights confirms, based on various estimates, that the conflict in Yemen has killed more than 230,000 people, displaced no less than 4 million others, and reversed at least two decades of human development. The vast majority of the country's population is now in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.

Ammunition in Hodeidah

For nearly eight years, the warring parties in Yemen - including the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition, the internationally recognized Yemeni government, the armed group Ansar Allah (Houthis), as well as others - have claimed lives, broken families, destroyed cities and lands and disturbed the future of millions.

Last September 2022, the United Nations Mission in Support of the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) expressed its deep concern about the continuing deaths and injuries among civilians caused by explosive ordnance in the Yemeni governorate of Hodeidah.

Since the front lines changed on November 12, 2021, 242 civilian casualties have been reported in Al Hudaydah, including 101 deaths and 141 injuries, due to landmines and other explosive remnants of war, according to a statement from the mission.

The Mission reported fifteen casualties as a result of landmines and explosive remnants of war, including the death of one child and the injury of 12 other children, in just three days.

The mission stated that this unfortunate outcome is a reminder of the devastating impact of the remnants of war on the civilian population in the governorate. UNMHA renewed its call to take urgent and concrete measures to clear the contaminated areas in the governorate, renewing its commitment to support the parties and provide logistic and technical support for mine action, including support for awareness-raising on the dangers of landmines and explosive remnants of war.

UNMHA said; “All measures must be taken to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable groups in Hodeidah, particularly women and children, who continue to be disproportionately affected by these dangerous and indiscriminate remnants of war.”

Lack of Justice

None of the Ansar Allah (Houthis) redress-related bodies operate transparently according to human rights organizations, as there is no clear basis for how the Equity Committee or the Grievances Commission decides which cases to consider, whether or not to take action on them, and whether it would make recommendations to other Ansar Allah entities and when.

Additionally, the work of these two bodies also differs from one governorate to another. In some governorates, lawyers said, the two bodies were accepting cases unrelated to Ansar Allah's abuses, including cases that allowed mediators to profit. There is no transparent basis for determining who may be eligible for assistance from these agencies, nor for determining what types of assistance or relief these agencies may provide.

The justice-related bodies of the Ansar Allah group (Houthis) failed to conduct real investigations, according to the testimony of the people who submitted their petitions to the two bodies, as they are - in general - ineffective bodies, and powerless in front of other agencies affiliated with the Ansar Allah group, such as the security and intelligence forces. While these two bodies appear to have been involved in a small number of cases of detention-related violations, the vast majority of civilian victims of (Houthi) behavior in Yemen, including - for example - those maimed by landmine explosions or those who lost loved ones in indiscriminate bombing attacks, have been largely ignored.

A human rights organization conducted 11 interviews specialized in reparations during the year 2021, with those affected by the explosion of mines planted by the Ansar Allah group or the ground attacks launched by the Ansar Allah group, all of whom said that they had not received any redress and had not previously communicated with any bodies related to redress and were not aware of any means or procedures through which they can file complaints. Ansar Allah has claimed that the coalition is obligated to provide reparations for the damages in Yemen, but has not yet acknowledged its own responsibilities for the widespread damage it has inflicted on civilians.

Since the outbreak of the conflict, the warring parties have committed frequent, repeated and gross violations of international human rights law, and frequent, constant and serious violations of international humanitarian law, in ways that harm Yemeni civilians. The indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks killed and injured civilians, and destroyed civilian homes, vehicles and other property.

Furthermore, warring parties have also committed extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and sexual and gender-based violence. The widespread use of banned weapons, such as landmines and cluster munitions, maimed civilians, including many children, and made access to farmland impossible. Conflicting parties have also recruited children and used them in the fronts, obstructed and restricted humanitarian access, used starvation as a method of warfare, and the list of violations goes endless.

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