The geographical and demographical texture of Yemen has developed enormous potential for the country to experience various internal and regional crises in its modern history. These include the 1994 wars between the then North and South Yemen, and the military aggression of Gamal Abdol Nasser who sent 60,000 troops to crackdown the Shia of the country in 1962. Since long past, Yemenis have had different religious tendencies. Currently 50% of the people are Shafe-ei Sunnnis, and 40% Zeidi Shias. The rest include Ismailieh and Sufis. The Asna Ashari Shia in Yemen who are mostly the youth of the country make up approximately 1% of the population.
Geographically, Yemen is situated to the south of Saudi Arabia, West of Oman, Eastern side of the Red Sea and North of the Gulf of Yemen. Also the country has control over the Bab-el-Mandeb Straits, a vital artery for the Horn of Africa countries, Saudi Arabia and particularly Egypt. The Straits is an strategic root for transporting energy to Europe. To the north, Yemen has an 1800 border with Saudi Arabia and the Jabal Dakhan Heights (2000 metres) which completely overlooks Saudi oil installations.
As a regional power, Saudi Arabia has always seen Yemen as its own backyard, and has had full control on the rulers of the country. The Al-Huthi Islamic movement with its Shia roots and anti-Wahabi and Saudi ruling family, and the one million Yemenis who live in Saudi Arabia and also the presence of 700 thousand Zeidi Shias in the joint Yemen-Saudi Arabia borders, are all deemed serious threats to the kingdom.
The strategic features of Yemen has pushed Saudi Arabia to support the former president of Yemen, Mansur Hadi, and launch horrific airstrikes in Yemen and pouring of Al-Qaeda forces into the country. Moreover, America’s concern over the expansion of the Shia resistance movement to the Horn of Africa and also concern over the destruction of the Saudi kingdom, can be seen as some of the incentives of the formation of an American-Saudi partnership in Yemen in collaboration with some other Arab countries of the Middle East.
The unfortunate result of the American-Arab coalition created one of the most serious humanitarian crises in the recent years, in which the main victims are civilians, children in particular. Throughout the crisis many international organizations and human rights activists , have expressed their deep concern of the increasing humanitarian damages and provided documented evidences and statistics about the extent of the tragedy.
Since the Human Rights Council is the main custodian of human rights issues and responsible for investigation of grave human rights violations in the international order, the raising of this issue by international organizations and presentation of related evidences and statistics to the Council is very urgent for helping to solving of the crisis.
The following are some statistics and documented evidence on the human crisis in Yemen on various issues: children, cholera, malnutrition and inhuman actions of the Saudi-led Coalition.
1) In the US backed Saudi-led coalition attacks on Yemen, 32,749 civilians have been killed and injured. This number includes 12,296 deaths and 20,453 injuries. The dead include 2,646 children, 1,922 women and 7,628 men and the injured include 2,463 children, 2,074 women and 15,916 men.
2) Many schools, education institutions, homes, mosques, hospitals and infrastructures have been destroyed or damaged in the military aggression against Yemen. They include 163 schools and education institutions, 113 universities, 26 media centres, 403,039 homes, 712 mosques, 161 power stations and generators, 307 water tanks and water networks, 339 communications networks and stations, 270 hospitals, 103 sports centres, 1,624 government buildings, 223 tourist centres and 206 ancient monuments.
3) In the transport sector, figures show that 515 food tankers, 235 oil tankers, 15 airports, 14 ports, 1,577 roads and bridges have been targeted.
4) In the installations, commerce and farming sectors, 2,574 locations have been hit by airstrikes that include, 1,630 agricultural farms, 540 trade centres, 277 factories, 314 petrol stations, 663 supermarkets and 213 poultry and cattle farms.
5) According to UNDP statement of 1 August 2017, 70 percent of the Yemeni population (approximately 20 million) need humanitarian assistance, and 400,000 children are severely malnourished.
6) According to World Health Organization office in Yemen from 27 April 2017, more than 372,900 suspicious cholera cases and 1,837 deaths as a result of cholera, in more than 91 percent of Yemeni provinces.
7) UN World Food Prgoramme announced in 2017 that 20 million people in South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and northeast Nigeria are on the verge of death from starvation; 1.4 million children are suffering from severe malnutrition. A notable amount of these figures are Yemeni children.
8) Aggression and blockade against Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition has resulted in nearly 27 million people to suffer from hunger and famine, half of which are women and children. Out of the 27 million people, 2 million have been displaced and 17 million are suffering from food insecurity. That is why they have turned to farming and are looking for financial resources to support their new jobs. Approximately 16 million also do not have access to clean water and hygiene.
9) UNICEF representative in Yemen has said that 4.5 million children have been deprived of education due to economic problems as a result of war. With the continuation of the conflict, these children are vulnerable to being recruited as child soldiers and or unwanted marriages in younger ages. The use of child soldiers in the Yemeni conflict have greatly increased. UNICEF has identified 848 child soldier some of which are as low as 10 years old.
10) According to investigations conducted by Al-Jazeera, 90 percent of deaths are due to cholera in the areas under the Huthi control, which are mainly affected by the Saudi-led coalition’s siege and attacks.
11) The WHO data analysis shows that 1,794 out of 2,003 deaths have been as a result of cholera (90 percent) in the northern and western provinces (which are mostly or completely under Huthi control).
12) 84 percent of the possible cholera cases have been noticed in areas under Huthi control, 456,962 out of 542,278 in other words. The suspicious cholera deaths in these areas are more than those under government control. 1.1 percent of the deaths have taken place in Huthi controlled areas in comparison with 0.2 percent in government held areas.
13) Some of the children who have died and or are suffering from cholera, suffer from malnutrition, which weaned their body immune system. Cholera is treatable if it is quickly diagnosed, but the war conditions make the treatment very difficult.
14) The armed conflict in Yemen has destroyed the country’s sports facilities, currently less than half of these facilities are functioning. Most public health experts have not received any wages in months. The medical care system in Yemen is on the verge of collapse and hospitals and medical centres have drugs and medical equipment shortages.
15) According to the country director of UNDP, half a million civil servants have not received their wages for almost a year, which will seriously affect the fundamental services provision of the country. UNICEF has also announced that employees of the Ministry of Education and Training and the teachers of the country have not received any wages since the end of last year due to the dire economic conditions.
16) WFP has announced that for the continuation of food aid to Yemen, it needs 900 million dollars in order to provide urgent needs and prevent the spread of famine from August till January 2018.
17) UN Secretary-General Special Representative in Yemen has said that the destruction and rise in fatalities, spread of terror groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and uncontrolled migration from the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, are all the results of not taking serious steps in the Yemen crisis.
18) Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, deems the budget deficit as one of the fundamental challenges in the Yemen crisis and said, “only 39 percent of the humanitarian programme budget of the 2.3 billion dollar has been allocated to Yemen. Officials in Sana and or local officials in areas under their own control, have either interfered in humanitarian aid operations and or improper interference.”
19) UNDP country director for Yemen, Mr. Auke Lootsma said that the current food security crisis in Yemen is a Mankind catastrophe which has taken place over decades of poverty and reduction of investment, and right now it is being exploited by the Saudi-led coalition as a “war tactic” through “economic crackdown.”
20) World Health Organization communications officer, Fadéla Chaib has announced that each day 5,000 Yemenis are contracted with cholera, most of which are children and the elderly. This disease is transmitted during rain seasons, but she deemed the current mortality rates as “heavy” and the ongoing situation “alarming.”
21) Jamie McGoldrick, United Nations Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for the Republic of Yemen has said that if the international community does not pay 200 million dollars to solve the cholera epidemic crisis, the humanitarian branch of the UN will be forced to spend its resources that are for the prevention of malnutrition on the cholera crisis instead.
22) The UN has only received a third of the 20.1 billion dollar budget for providing food for millions of people who are living in famine conditions in Yemen. Also the UN has only received 47 million dollars out of the 250 million dollars requested to combat cholera.
23) Dr Homer Venters, director of programmes for the research group Physicians for Human Rights said that coalition hits on clinics and sewage works were a Saudi “tactic of war” that amounted to the “weaponisation of disease”. Coalition attacks and a blockade on fuel and other supplies have left civilians in Houthi areas more vulnerable to cholera, and less able to get antibiotics and other life-saving help than those in other parts of the Arab world’s poorest nation, he said.
24) According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), between March 2015 and March 2017, warring parties carried out more than 160 attacks on medical facilities and staff. Some 600 clinics were forced to close from March 2015 to March 2016, the United Nations said.
25) The latest WHO data from October 2016 shows 37 percent of health facilities in mountainous Sadah have been damaged or destroyed, along with 28 percent in the area around the capital, Sanaa.
26) The air raids are intensifying. Yemen saw more attacks in the first half of this year than in all of 2016, said the Protection Cluster in Yemen, which works under the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). There were 5,676 attacks in the first half of 2017, up from 3,936 for all 2016.
27) The Saudi coalition has pursued a war strategy of maximizing pressure on the Houthi resistance by destroying agricultural, health and transportation infrastructure and by choking off access to food and fuel for most of Yemen’s population.
28) The United States has enabled the Saudis to pursue that strategy by refueling the Saudi-led coalition planes bombing Yemen and selling the bombs. Equally important, however, the US has provided the political-diplomatic cover that the Saudis need to carry out this ruthless endeavor without massive international blowback.
29) According to UNICEF, one child in Yemen dies every ten minutes as a result of the Saudi-led attacks, but children’s problems are not restricted to this, and these attacks cause many physical and mental problems and also extensive deprivations among children.
30) Hundreds of men swept up in the hunt for al-Qaida militants have disappeared into a secret network of prisons in southern Yemen where abuse is routine and torture extreme, and several human rights abuse cases have been reported. Detainees are interrogated in secret prisons by US forces and thousands of Yemenis disappear in these torture networks.
31) By continuing to supply weapons to the UAE and its coalition partners for use in Yemen, arms suppliers which are states party to the ATT risk violating its core human rights provisions. Amnesty International has repeatedly called for a comprehensive embargo on arms transfers that could be used by any party to the conflict in Yemen while there remains a substantial risk the arms would be used to commit or facilitate war crimes or other serious violations.
According to the figures released by the Rights and Development Legal Centre dated 25 March 2017, which can be seen in http://www.yemenextra.net/2017/3/25/legalcenter-32749-civilianswere-killed-andinjured-as-a-result-of-saudi-led-coalition/
http:// www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57353#. WaTvsj6GPIV
From the remarks of Esmaeel Oled Sheikh Ahmad, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Yemen, accessible in the following site: http://www/unairan.org/2017/08/20/yemens-man-made-catastrophe-ravaging-country-senior-un-officials-tell-security-countil/