A human rights group says Saudi Arabia and the United States should ensure the safety of Yemeni civilians during the Saudis' ongoing airstrikes on their impoverished neighbor.
In letters to Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the US should investigate laws-of-war violations in Yemen and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to people at risk.
The United Nations director at the HRW, Philippe Bolopion, said the civilian deaths and humanitarian crisis in Yemen are alarmingly high amid the Saudi attacks against Sana’a, and called for serious measures to protect people.
The US should use its influence and urge the Saudi military to comply with the laws of war, he added.
“Whether or not the US is a party to the conflict, its close association with the…military campaign should provide a strong incentive for the [US President Barack] Obama administration to take concrete steps to try to minimize the civilian toll of the war and ensure that alleged violations are promptly investigated,” Bolopion said.
Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 without a UN mandate in a bid to restore power to Yemen’s former fugitive president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
Now the humanitarian situation in Yemen is rapidly deteriorating. Many international aid organizations have sought clearances to dispatch medical and other humanitarian supplies by air and sea to civilians in need.
Yemen's armed forces and popular committees spokesman Colonel Sharaf Luqman said in a press conference on Monday that civilians and Yemeni infrastructure have been the target of the Saudi aggression against Yemen, adding, "Saudi Arabia is the international supporter of terrorism."
Close to 2,600 people have been killed in the Saudi aggression, the spokesman said, adding that Saudi Arabia's strikes are also hitting residential buildings.
He also said that the Yemeni people will strongly respond to the Saudi aggression.
The United States has shared intelligence and surveillance information with Saudi Arabia. It has also accelerated sending weapons to the Persian Gulf monarchy.