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HRW: Houthi laid- mines kill civilians, banning aid
[23/04/2019 08:09]

BEIRUT-SABA
Human Rights Watch has said Houthi rebel militia widely use of landmines along Yemen's western coast since 2017 have killed and injured hundreds of Yemeni civilians and blocked the way before relief organizations to reach weak societies.

Although Yemeni law and Mine Ban Treaty 1997 prohibit using anti-persons mines, Houthi rebel militia used even anti-vehicles mines sporadically in a stark breach to war laws, which poses real threat on civilians after conflict.

“Houthi-laid landmines have not only killed and maimed numerous civilians, but they have prevented vulnerable Yemenis from harvesting crops and drawing clean water desperately needed for survival,” said PriyankaMotaparthy, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “Mines have also prevented aid groups from bringing food and health care to increasingly hungry and ill Yemeni civilians.”

Landmines laid in farmlands, villages, wells, and roads have killed at least 140 civilians, including 19 children, in the Hodeida and Taiz provinces since 2018, according to the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, a humanitarian data source.

In a report issued by the organization on Monday, April 22, 2019, Human Rights Watch researchers visited the southern port city of Aden in February 2019 and interviewed civilians injured by landmines as well as civilians fleeing mined areas, aid workers, and a deminer from Yemen Executive Mine Action Centre; analyzed video and photographs collected in country; and reviewed Houthi state and military media channels.

HRW fond proves that in addition to anti-persons laid-landmines, Houthi militia laid anti-vehicles mines in civil areas, other anti-vehicles landmines modifiedto explode from a person weight and disguised improvised explosive devices as rocks or parts of tree trunks.

According to organization's report, landmines have also left at least three western coast water facilities inaccessible, two aid groups said.

"In addition, mines have made it more difficult for villagers to feed themselves and maintain their income. Five people said that they had been injured or that relatives had been killed when landmines detonated in farmlands or grazing lands; many displaced people said mines prevented safe harvesting and killed valuable livestock," the report went on.

Landmines have prevented humanitarian organizations from reaching communities in need along the western coast, Human Rights Watch said. These included villages and towns in the Tuhayta and Mawza’a districts, as well as the major port city of Hodeida.

Three aid groups said they could not reach key places or provide services to areas because landmines were planted there or along the route. Many of these communities are only accessible by dirt roads, which are far more hazardous than paved surfaces.


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