HRW: Houthi landmines kill Civilians, block Aid
Human Rights Watch today released its latest detailed report on the situation in Yemen. The organization devoted its report to talk about the Iran-backed Houthi militia abuses, including the indiscriminate cultivation of mines in the coast line western of Yemen, and the resulting casualties among civilians.
Houthi militia’s widespread use of landmines along Yemen’s western coast since mid-2017 has killed and injured hundreds of civilians and prevented aid groups from reaching vulnerable communities.
Yemeni law and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty ban all use of antipersonnel mines; anti-vehicle mines have been used indiscriminately in violation of the laws of war, posing dangers to civilians long after hostilities have ceased.
Landmines laid in farmlands, villages, wells, and roads have killed at least 140 civilians, including 19 children, in the Hodeida and Taiz governorates since 2018, according to the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, a humanitarian data source.
Landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have prevented humanitarian organizations from reaching populations in need, left farms and wells inaccessible, and harmed civilians trying to return home.
“Houthi-laid landmines have not only killed and maimed numerous civilians, but they have prevented vulnerable Yemenis from harvesting crops and drawing clean water desperately needed for survival,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch.
“Mines have also prevented aid groups from bringing food and health care to increasingly hungry and ill Yemeni civilians.”
Human Rights Watch found evidence that in addition to laying anti-personnel landmines, Houthi forces planted anti-vehicle mines in civilian areas, modified anti-vehicle mines to detonate from a person’s weight, and disguised improvised explosive devices as rocks or parts of tree trunks.
Human Rights Watch also found that the Houthi militia has used antipersonnel mines in Hayran, near the Saudi Arabia border, and confirmed their use of naval mines despite the risk to commercial, fishing, and aid vessels.