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"Protecting Civilian Objects during Armed Conflicts": a New Study Released by Maat for Peace

Okeil: Al Houthi militia is flouting international norms and conventions

Nourhan Mustafa: The Houthi militia must stop targeting civilians in Yemen

  Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights released a new study entitled “Protecting Civilian Objects during Armed Conflicts: A Case Study of Yemen”. The study discussed the legal rules that protect civilian objects and civilians in armed conflicts. The study also revealed the situation in Yemen, where a large number of civilian objects and civilians were targeted in the conflict areas, and highlighted the violations committed by the Houthi militia, whether by targeting civilian objects in Ma'arib or by indiscriminately launching ballistic missiles at civilians and residential gatherings in other cities. About 232 victims, including 23 women and 44 children, have been reportedly killed by landmines and explosive devices planted by the Houthi terrorist militia in Yemen during 2020. Around 39 archaeological and religious sites were targeted, and 757 public and private buildings, and 17 schools for children were destroyed.

For his part, Ayman Okeil, a human rights expert and the president of Maat, stated that although International Humanitarian Law prohibits attacks against civilian objects in general, the Houthi militia continued to target a large number of civilian objects and civilians, especially in Ma'arib, by indiscriminately launching ballistic missiles that fall on civilians and strike residential areas, threatening the lives of hundreds of civilians, and flouting all international conventions and norms. In addition to the current humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Okeil warned of an imminent oil crisis, triggered by the continued detention of oil derivative ships due to the ongoing conflicts, which will severely debilitate many sectors, especially the health sector. Okeil added that since the Houthi militia's aggressive coup against the legitimate government in 2015, more than 200,000 civilians have been killed and injured. Moreover, nearly 16 million people are facing the risk of starvation. OKeil urged all concerned parties to immediately intervene and take all possible measures to avoid this looming crisis and recommended them to abide by the provisions of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. 

Nourhan Mustafa, director of the International Humanitarian Law Unit at Maat, added that health conditions in Yemen have significantly deteriorated, as the Houthi militia has targeted healthcare centers and institutions, preventing medical aid from reaching those in need and blocking peoples' access to them, as well as disrupting medical facilities and destroying dozens of Hospitals. Mustafa also recommended adherence to humanitarian principles and providing protection for civilians and their objects, specifically medical objects, in accordance with the four Geneva Conventions of 1949.

 

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