ALERT – Yemen: Launch of HI new report “Death sentence for civilians” | June 12, 2020
In 5 years of war, Yemen has been devastated by the use of explosive weapons. HI is releasing a new report to demonstrate the long-term effects of this pattern of violence and to denounce its devastating and indiscriminate effects on civilians. Read the full report in English. Since 2014, HI has been working towards a […]
In 5 years of war, Yemen has been devastated by the use of explosive weapons. HI is releasing a new report to demonstrate the long-term effects of this pattern of violence and to denounce its devastating and indiscriminate effects on civilians.
Since 2014, HI has been working towards a political declaration against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, as a co-founder of the International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW). Though the onset of the COVID pandemic has delayed the negotiation process towards a political declaration, HI remains committed to ensure a strong text that ends the humanitarian harm caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.
In the past years, HI has documented the consequences of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Syria; “Death Sentence for civilians: The Long-Term Impact of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas in Yemen” is a new contribution to support the international process with evidence from an active conflict.
5 years of use of EWIPA in Yemen
Yemen has experienced 5 years of conflict including nearly every manner of explosive weapons, including aircraft bombs and missiles, artillery, mortars, and IEDs. Though the pattern of EWIPA violence in Yemen is not as extensive as Syria, the damages to critical infrastructure have exacerbated humanitarian needs in the country, where 24.1 million people (three quarter of the population) are in need of humanitarian aid.
Yemen, as the region’s most underdeveloped nation, already had weak infrastructure system before the conflict. This report demonstrates how explosive weapons use in Yemen, by destroying critical infrastructure and services necessary for food, transport, health, and water such as ports, roads, health facilities, and water systems, directly threatens the population of Yemen’s survival in the current humanitarian crisis and in the long-term. The long-term or reverberating effects of explosive weapons use, referring to how the destruction of infrastructure has implications for the wider systems of services in a country, are just as deadly in a crisis as injuries from the explosion and impact even a greater number of people than those in the vicinity of the original attack.
Lack of services caused by the destruction of facilities or infrastructure, as well as the restriction of movement influenced by long-term contamination, are all reverberating effects of explosive weapons with wide-area effects used in populated areas. According to the Humanitarian Needs Overview, up to 600 civilian infrastructures were destroyed or damaged per month in 2018. 80% of the population needs humanitarian aid to survive. In Yemen, 50% of medical facilities no longer function while 19.7 million people in need of healthcare and 17.8 people lack access to safe water and sanitation. The economic blockade and disruption to the economy have inflated the cost of food and fuel. 3.3 million people are displaced.
Injuries which will require specific care for life
HI has supported physical and functional rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities in Yemen from the early 2000s up to 2012. Since 2015, HI has been operating humanitarian programmes offering direct services to all individuals affected by the ongoing conflict. HI provides rehabilitation services and assistive devices and technologies, offers psychosocial support, and works to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to humanitarian aid.
HI is present in the governorates of Sana’a, Amanat al Asimah and Aden, in 6 health centres, and welcomes patients from all over the country, and has treated 25,000 people, many of them victims of the conflict, since the beginning of its operations in 2015. More than 3,000 of them are victims of explosive weapons (bombings, explosive remnants of war, improvised explosive devices…).
In the hospitals and rehabilitation centres where we operate, we are stricken by the number of people injured by bombing, landmines or unexploded ordnance. For many of them, physical rehabilitation is an absolute necessity. Many wounded people will need long-term medical, financial and social support, often for the rest of their lives… The devastating legacy of this conflict will leave a whole generation of people with injuries and disabilities and will require the support of aid agencies for many years.” Thomas Hugonnier, Director of Middle-East Operations at HI.
HI condemns the extended use of explosive weapons – in populated areas in the 5-year long Yemen war. States, UN agencies, international organizations and civil society, including HI and other members of the International Network on Explosive Weapons, are working to end the harm caused by explosive weapons in populated areas by setting international norm against its use and are calling all States to support the development of a strong political declaration against the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas.
 OCHA. Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview. 2019. 4