FIDH is extremely concerned about the consequences of the fighting which over the past five years,has forced around 175,000 people to leave their homes to take refuge in overcrowded camps set up by international humanitarian agencies. Internally displaced persons are unable to reach safe places. Furthermore, a severe humanitarian crisis affects the civilian population in the Governorate of Saada.
Since August 12, 2009, a new round of heavy fighting has erupted in the Northern region ending the cease-fire signed mid-July 2008 and initiating the latest of six rounds of serious fighting between the al-Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government.
As the Yemeni authorities do not allow independent media and independant human rights bodies into the conflict zone, there are no clear and objective estimates available about the consequences on the civilian population in particular. The ongoing blockade of the conflict areas has dire consequences on the provision of medicines, food, and other humanitarian supplies as well as on reliable information about the impact of the fighting on the civilian population.
Furthermore, according to the information received by FIDH, dozens of civilians were killed and injured in particular during air-strikes.
FIDH’s International Board recalls the obligation of the Government of Yemen, the Government of Saudi Arabia and the forces under their control, as well as Al Huthi rebels to protect civilians in compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons.
It further recalls that the presence of journalists and human rights groups in conflict areas remains an essential monitoring tool of human rights abuses and violations of the International Humanitarian Law and therefore urges the Yemeni authorities to immediatly allow access to the Governorate of Saada.
FIDH calls upon the Secretary General of the League of Arab States to address the situation in Nothern Yemen in view of obtaining a cease-fire, and to deploy all the necessary efforts of mediation towards a political solution to the conflict.