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Houthi Abuses Continue in Yemen

Counterterrorism & Security

Ghada Ghaleb

Fri, 22 Nov 2019 17:15 GMT

Abuses by the Houthi terrorist group in Yemen continue amid recent reports of violations of the rights of children and the killing of civilian detainees in prisons due to poor conditions, as well as the kidnapping of ships in the Red Sea and violations of international law.

The Arab Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy in Yemen on December 20th denied Houthi claims to have shot down an alliance F-15 fighter jet. "What the Houthi terrorist militia claims, is an extension of the militia's methodology of counterfeiting," said coalition spokesperson, Colonel Turki al-Maliki.

Houthi Losses

At the same time, there are reports of Houthi losses. The Yemeni army announced on November 11th that members of the Houthi militia had been killed and heavy military equipment seized in an ambush in the southwestern province of Taiz. A Houthi armoured vehicle was also seized and its members forced to retreat from positions they had taken up in Taiz, the army said in a statement on its official Facebook page.

Red Sea Kidnapping

On November 20th South Korea announced the release of 14 Iranian sailors and two South Koreans who had been held with their three ships by rebels on the Red Sea coast since Sunday, November 17th. Sunday's incident took place nearly two weeks after the start of a US-led naval military alliance to protect shipping in the Gulf and Red Sea region from attacks on ships and the US accused Iran of being behind the attacks.

Continued Violations of Human Rights

One abductee, 45-year-old Khaled Mohammed Mahmoud al-Haith, died on November 20th after four years in a prison in the capital Sana’a, run by the Houthi militia, after being prevented from receiving medical treatment, Al Arabiya television reported.

The Mothers of Abductees Association blamed the Houthi militias for al-Haith’s death. It appealed to local and international human rights organisations to help put pressure on the Houthis to quickly rescue the remaining abductees in their prisons.

The "SAM Rights and Liberties” organisation issued a statement calling on the Houthis to save 41 detainees in militia jails suffering from diseases and deprived by the Houthis of their right to treatment. SAM quoted the Association of Mothers of the Abductees as saying that there are 183 abductees infected with various diseases, including 95% in the prisons of the Houthi militia. The names of 43 abductees in militia prisons suffering from several diseases were published.

Children in Yemen

A Yemeni human rights report, released on November 20th by the Yemeni Network for Human Rights and Freedoms in cooperation with 13 international organisations, monitored the violation of the human rights of 17 children in 17 Yemeni governorates by Houthi militias during the period from January 1st, 2015 to August 30th, 2019. The report also said that during the same period, 3,888 children were killed directly by Houthi militias. Overall, the violations affected 5,357 children. It caused 164 permanent disabilities due to projectiles targeting densely populated neighbourhoods indiscriminately.

The report said that the militias had abducted 456 children who are still in the prisons of the militia. It has displaced another 43,608 children and recruited some 23,700 children into various fronts.

The report said that two million of the three million children born since the militia war against the Yemeni people began are suffering from health problems and many of them have died as a result of poor health care and lack of vaccines and health support in militia-controlled areas.

The statement pointed out that the children were direct victims of mines planted indiscriminately by militias in residential neighbourhoods and on roads, killing and injuring about 800 children.

For its part, the Yemeni government said on November 20th that 4.5 million children have been deprived of education since the Houthi coup in late 2014.

World Bank Warning

The World Bank said on November 21st that the five-year war had torn apart communities, displaced tens of thousands of families, destroyed infrastructure and public services, including water, sanitation and electricity and had turned the lives of millions of Yemenis into a nightmare. The resilience of Yemeni citizens was over. 15 million Yemenis bear the brunt of the war, the bank said.

Hezbollah members were seen near a UN observation post in a neighbourhood near the city of Saleh in the western city of Hodeidah, according to Al Arabiya. Hezbollah, the political arm of Iran, is classified on the international terrorism list.

The emergence of foreign elements has been noticed for the second time, most recently in conjunction with excavations and active developments in the region, movements and reinforcements spotted in a number of neighbourhoods and streets in the centre of the province, and the escalation of large-scale work in the directorates of South Hodeidah.

Dozens of members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah are present in Hodeidah as experts in the manufacture of explosives, booby-trapped boats and drones, assembling them and supervising weapons workshops and factories in Hodeidah, according to Yemeni intelligence sources.

They oversee the arrival and transfer of weapons entering the port of Hodeidah and small ports north of the port of Salif, which are used in the manufacture of ballistic missiles.

Violation of International Law

On November 20th The Arab League condemned the handover by Iran of the Yemeni embassy in Tehran to the Houthis. Following the official recognition of the Houthis by Iran, Arab League Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, condemned Iran's official recognition on November 19th of the representation of the Houthi militia and the handover of the headquarters of the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Yemen in Tehran and its buildings, money and property to the rebel movement. Aboul Gheit considered the move "a flagrant departure from diplomatic norms and a clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 2216."

Such a move reflects Iran's insistence on aggressive behaviour aimed at destabilising Yemen, with the consequent threat to the security of its neighbours.

Middle East