New data shows hu­man cost of war in Ye­men

The McGill Daily - - International News -

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.

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