Tuesday, 24 May 2016
Amnesty Finds New US, UK Cluster Bombs in Yemen
Leading human rights group Amnesty International said its most recent mission to Yemen has found evidence of US, UK and Brazilian cluster munitions used by Saudi forces.
In a statement on Monday, the UK-based rights group said unexploded cluster bombs had turned northern Yemen into “minefields” for civilians.
The watchdog said displaced families, who are returning to their homes since a ceasefire was agreed in March, are at “grave risk” of “serious injury or even death.”
“Even after hostilities have died down, the lives and livelihoods of civilians, including young children, continue to be on the line in Yemen as they return to de facto minefields,” said Amnesty’s senior crisis adviser Lama Fakih.
“They cannot live in safety until contaminated areas in and around their homes and fields are identified and cleared of deadly cluster bomb sub-munitions and other unexploded ordnance,” she said.
The rights group said children were among civilians martyred and maimed by such munitions, calling on the international community to help clear contaminated areas.
The statement also called on countries with influence on Saudi Arabia and its allies to have them “stop using cluster munitions, which are internationally banned and inherently indiscriminate.”
Following a 10-day research trip to Saada, Hajjah and Sanaa provinces, Amnesty found that 16 civilians, including nine children, had been killed or injured by cluster munitions between July 2015 and April.
On May 6, another rights advocacy group, Human Rights Watch [HRW], confirmed that Saudi Arabia had been using US-supplied cluster bombs near civilian areas in Yemen.
Saudi regime had also recently used US-made cluster bombs in two recent airstrikes on a busy market in Yemen.
On April 7, HRW said its investigators traveled to a town in Yemen’s Hajjah province the day after the attack and identified 97 civilians martyred in the strike, including 25 children. The team said another 10 bodies were burned beyond recognition, bringing the total number of victims to 107.
They found fragments of a GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb as well as its guidance equipment supplied by the US, matching an earlier report by British television channel ITV.
The US has backed the Saudi campaign in Yemen. In November last year, Washington approved a USD 1.29 billion rearming program for Riyadh, including thousands of similar bombs.
Saudi Arabia began its military aggression against Yemen on March 26, 2015 in a bid to restore power to Saudi-backed former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Nearly 9,400 people, among them over 2,230 children, had been killed and over 16,000 others injured since the onset of the military raids. According to the UN, airstrikes account for 60 percent of the civilians martyr so far.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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