The United Nations warned on Tuesday that human rights violations will not go on with “impunity” in war-torn Yemen.
We stress “that violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Yemen cannot continue with impunity,” UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said in a statement.
The UN envoy “denounced the recent major military escalation in Yemen”, and urged the warring sides “to immediately de-escalate”.
The ongoing “escalation undermines the prospects of reaching a sustainable political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen,” Grundberg warned.
Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with nearly 80% or about 30 million needing humanitarian assistance and protection, and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.
Since February, Houthi rebels have stepped up attacks to take control of the oil-rich Marib province, one of the most important strongholds of the legitimate government and home to the headquarters of Yemen’s Defense Ministry.
“The continued offensive on Marib and the continued missile attacks on the governorate are also resulting in civilian casualties, damage to civilian objects and mass displacement,” Grundberg said.
He also blamed the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes on Sanaa for causing loss of civilian lives and damage of “civilian infrastructure and residential areas.”
The UN diplomat decried the impact of the escalation on the humanitarian situation and reminded all sides that any indiscriminate attacks on civilians constitute “a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and must stop immediately.”
Grundberg expressed his dismay that the year 2021 “is ending on a tragic note for Yemenis, millions of whom are struggling with poverty, hunger and severe restrictions on their freedom of movement.”
He underscored his readiness to facilitate de-escalation of violence with all parties and “address urgent humanitarian needs, and enable a political process aimed at sustainably and comprehensively ending the conflict in Yemen.”
A recent United Nations report projected that by the year’s end, the death toll from the seven-year Yemeni conflict will reach 377,000.