Human Rights Watch accuses Houthis of shelling residential areas

Rights group says displaced civilians in Yemen are in desperate need of aid as winter is setting in

2021-11-25 13:06:11

SANAA, Yemen

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Houthi rebels of carrying out indiscriminate artillery shelling on residential areas in central Yemen.

In a report published late on Wednesday, the rights group said the Houthi shelling caused casualties among civilians and led to "a new wave of civilian displacement."

"The attacks are part of the intensified fighting between the Houthi forces and the Yemeni government and its allied forces around Marib (central Yemen)" and has led to worsening of the humanitarian conditions for millions of Yemeni civilians, the report said.

“Civilians and displaced people in Marib have been caught in the crosshairs for nearly two years, some suffering severe deprivation,” said Afrah Nasser, HRW's Yemen researcher.

“The Houthis' repeated indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and blocking humanitarian aid have become a shameful pattern and add to the group's dismal human rights record,” Nasser added.

The researcher warned that the new displaced people are in desperate need "of comprehensive response by aid agencies" as winter is setting in.

The Houthi group has yet to comment on the report, however, it repeatedly claims its commitment to protect civilians during the fighting.

Since February, Iran-aligned Houthi rebels have stepped up attacks to take control of the oil-rich Marib province, one of the most important strongholds of the legitimate government and home to the headquarters of Yemen's Defense Ministry.

Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation and caused one of the world's worst man-made humanitarian crises, with 233,000 people killed, nearly 80% or about 30 million needing humanitarian assistance and protection, and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.