Deputy United Nations Director at Human Rights Watch Akshaya Kumar lashed out at the Saudi crown prince and defense minister for the catastrophic ramifications of the Riyadh-led coalition’s war on Yemen, according to an article published on the websites of The Washington Post and HRW.
“There has been nothing bold or transformative about his coalition’s relentless bombing of Yemen’s civilians while denying holding any of his own forces accountable for their war crimes,” the article read.
“As restrictions on imports push millions of Yemenis further into famine and aid the spread of normally treatable diseases, Prince Bin Salman should not be getting a free pass. Instead, he and other senior coalition leaders should face international sanctions,” it added.
This is while bin Salman ended up this month winning Time Magazine readers’ poll for Person of the Year over his “reforms” in the kingdom, the HRW article said.
The young prince was appointed the first in line to the Saudi throne by his father, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in June.
Since then, he has engaged in a string of radical economic and social projects in a bid to portray himself as a “reformist.” But those projects have been widely seen to be more about consolidating his personal power and less about bringing about real change to Saudi Arabia.
Prince Mohammed has been behind an aggressive push to purge royals and businessmen critical of his policies under the banner of an “anti-corruption campaign.”
The HRW article pointed to a 2015 UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution which gave the body the power to impose travel bans and asset freezes on anyone responsible for obstructing the delivery of life-saving aid.
The UNSC “has the power to put sanctions on anyone violating the laws of war in Yemen. Coalition leaders, including Prince Bin Salman, meet that threshold,” it stressed.
“The United Nations has information that points to the need for similar individual sanctions on coalition members, including military leaders in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. But mostly because of the power of Saudi Arabia’s allies, the United States, France and the United Kingdom, the Security Council hasn’t acted,” HRW pointed out.
Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 15,300 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.
Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
According to several reports, the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemen has driven the impoverished country towards humanitarian disaster, as Saudi Arabia’s deadly campaign prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.
The cholera outbreak in Yemen which began in April, has also claimed over 2,200 lives and has infected more than one million people, as the nation has been suffering from what the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as the “largest epidemic in the world” amid a non-stop bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia. Also Riyadh’s deadly campaign prevented the patients from traveling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country.
According to reports, the cholera epidemic in Yemen, which is the subject of a Saudi Arabian war and total embargo, is the largest recorded in modern history.
Aid officials have also warned of the spread of diphtheria in war-torn Yemen, as WHO and officials with the international medical charity Doctors Without Border, announced that the diphtheria spread is inevitable in Yemen due to low vaccination rates, lack of access to medical care and so many people moving around and coming in contact with those infected.
The United Nations had described the current level of hunger in Yemen as “unprecedented,” emphasizing that 17 million people are now food insecure in the country.
A recent survey showed that almost one third of families have gaps in their diets, and hardly ever consume foods like pulses, vegetables, fruit, dairy products or meat, while the humanitarian food aid is reaching only a third of Yemen’s population.
Aid agency CARE also declared that more than 22 million people in Yemen are in need of humanitarian aid, 7 million people face famine-like conditions.
More than 3 million pregnant and nursing women and children under 5 need support to prevent or cure malnutrition.
The United Nations has also warned that 8.4 million people in war-torn Yemen are “a step away from famine”, as Saudi Arabia and its allies are ceaselessly pounding the impoverished country.
“The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, shelter and nutrition support,” Jamie McGoldrick, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said in a statement on Monday.
“The continuing blockade of ports is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines, dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help,” he added.
The United Nations had warned that millions of people will die in Yemen, in what will be the world’s worst famine crisis in decades, unless the Saudi-led military coalition ends its devastating blockade and allows aid into the country.
Aid agency CARE warned, as the country marks 1,000 days since conflict began, Yemen risks sliding into famine and further disease outbreaks unless all the country’s ports are fully reopened.
“The situation is appalling,” CARE’s Country Director in Yemen Johan Mooij said, adding that “Today millions of Yemenis are facing multiple crises of war, hunger, disease outbreaks and recent blockades on fuel and commercial imports”, Reliefweb reported.
Mooij stressed that while some land, sea and air ports had recently reopened, the country’s main ports remained closed to commercial imports.
International aid agency Oxfam warned that Yemen was pushed ever closer to famine after 1,000 days of a brutal war, exacerbated by a crippling blockade of its key ports which is starving its people of food, fuel and medicine.
Source/Fars News Agency