New data shows human cost of war in Yemen
A U.N. report released on September 6 suggests that the war that has engulfed Yemen since March 2015 is even more devastating than international observers previously believed. The latest figures suggest that at least 3,200 civilians have been killed in airs trikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition; out of these , at least 1,100 have reportedly been children. The report notes, however, that these figures are probably conservative estimates of the death toll.
In essence, the war in the Yemen conflict consists of two main belligerents: the Houthi movement, which overthrew the Yemeni government in 2015, and the Saudi-led coalition, which is trying to re install that government. The Houthis, a predominantly Shi’a group, are backed by Iran; the coalition, which includes Egypt, Qatar, and Jordan, receives US support, often in the form of covert dr one strikes against alleged “terrorists .” Despite the vast military arsenal sat their disposal, the coalition has achieved little strategic success so far, as the Houthis remain in control of the capital and much of the western half of the country.
Now, roughly two and a half years into the conflict, Yemen is home to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Roughly 17 million people-one in five Yemenis-face food in security, and seven million are at the brink of famine. Infrastructure has broken down in many areas, and a lack of functioning hospitals, medical personnel, and clean water is having a catastrophic impact on the health of the population. In recent months, a deadly cholera epidemic has struck the country, spreading through polluted water. Between April and August, the U.N. reports, at least 2000 people have died from the disease.
Additionally, Yemenis have suffered direct violence over the course of the w ar. The targeting of civilians by coalition forces is well documented, with the U.N., activists and eyewitnesses on the ground reporting that houses, hospitals, and schools have been destroyed in addition to more conventional military targets. Houthi forces have harmed civilians as well, albeit on a lesser scale than the coalition.
This kind of violence constitutes a breach of international law, and as the conflict has intensified in recent months, international condemnation of the coalition’ s tactics has become more and more widespread. On August 30,62 N GOS called on the U. N .’ SH um an Rights Council to launch an enquiry into human rights abuses committed by both sides in Yemen. Earlier this year, the Trudeau government faced criticism when it emerged that Canada too had len tits support to the Saudi-led coalition, albeit indirectly, by selling arms to Saudi Arabia that have been turned against Yemeni civilians. Trudeau’ s administration approved the sale of $15 billion worth of armoured vehicles, making Canada the second-largest supplier of arms to the Middle East.