Thursday, January 7, 2016

Saudis bombed a center for the blind in Yemen

The new year seems to have brought little change for civilians living under bombs in Yemen. Early Tuesday morning, missiles reportedly fired by aircraft supporting the Saudi-led and U.S.-backed coalition damaged a center for the blind in the capital city of Sanaa, as well as the city’s chamber of commerce, a wedding hall, and at least one residential area. You can read the news by clicking here.
This brings the total number of civilians recorded killed over nine months of fighting to 2,795, with an additional 5,324 civilians recorded wounded, raising the total number of recorded civilian casualties in the conflict to 8,119. 
According to Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.N. documented the presence of cluster munitions in “several” Yemeni villages and two separate incidents of unexploded ordinance injuring people.
Condemned by international groups for the risks they pose to civilians, cluster bombs are banned in a 2008 treaty signed by 117 nations around the world. Saudi Arabia and the United States, however, are not on that list. Last year, Human Rights Watch presented evidence that Saudi Arabia had used U.S.-supplied cluster bombs in its war against the Houthis. At the time, the Saudi government — which in 2015 replenished its arsenal with 22,000 bombs purchased in a $1.2 billion, U.S. State Department-approved deal — insisted that it uses cluster bombs only on legitimate targets.
Journalists and human rights groups have repeatedly exposed the tremendous humanitarian costs associated with the continued bloodshed in Yemen, particularly those associated with coalition airstrikes (see herehereand here). For the time being, however, the conflict shows no sign of letting up. Indeed, the latest rounds of strikes follow the breakdown of a tenuous ceasefire agreed upon last month.

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