Yemen: UN must respond as five children killed in night of horror
An air strike which hit Faj Attan, a residential area of Yemen’s capital Sana’a in the early hours of this morning, destroying three homes, killing ten people and injuring seven more, shows that after more than two years of devastating conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is as brazen as ever in its disregard for international humanitarian law, Amnesty International said today.
Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:
“Last night the Saudi Arabia-led coalition rained down bombs on civilians while they slept, killing five children and leaving three others seriously injured. Locals say that a four-year-old girl was the sole survivor in her family, after the air strike killed the other seven members. Many people were trapped beneath the rubble of their homes until the early hours of this morning.”
An eyewitness said that the attack was one of a series of air strikes which began in the area at around 2:00 AM and continued for at least half an hour. According to local residents, there was no military target in the area at the time of the attack. Even if there were military targets, carrying out such an air strike when civilians were present would likely make it a disproportionate attack.
Lynn Maalouf said:
“In the aftermath of this night of horror there are serious questions for UN leaders, who last year made the shameful decision to remove the coalition from the list of violators of children’s rights in conflict.
“We are calling on the UN to look at the evidence – the schools and hospitals that lie in ruins, the hundreds of young lives lost to reckless airstrikes in the last year - and review this decision for the upcoming Children in Armed Conflict report. There is an urgent need to put Saudi Arabia under scrutiny for the raft of crimes under international law and other human rights violations its forces have committed in Yemen.”
In June 2016 a spokesperson for then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition would be removed from the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict’s list of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights in conflict. The move was a direct result of diplomatic pressure from Saudi Arabia.