Yemen bus attack just the latest outrage against civilians: UN agencies

Giles Clarke/OCHA
A young boy runs with his tyre past buildings damaged by air strikes in Saada Old Town.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

An air strike on a busy market area in Yemen that reportedly killed scores of people including more than 20 children on a bus, is likely the worst attack on youngsters in the conflict so far, and the latest in a recent spate of violence targeting civilians, UN agencies said on Friday.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, and UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, at least 21 boys – most of them under the age of 15 – died when their bus was hit on Thursday in Dahyan market in Saada, in the north of the country.

More than 30 boys were also injured in the aerial bombardment, which was carried out by a Saudi-led international coalition that has backed Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi against Houthi opposition forces for more than three years.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the attack on Thursday, urging an “independent and prompt investigation”, adding that warring parties must take “constant care to spare civilians”.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said that he was “deeply shocked by the appalling tragedy that claimed so many innocent lives”. The UN official has invited the warring parties to Geneva on 6 September in a bid to reach a political solution to the conflict – the first such discussions since 2016.

“This should urge us all to exert more efforts to end the conflict through an inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue,” he added, stressing that he hoped all of those involved in the fighting across the country will “engage constructively in the political process, including consultations scheduled in Geneva in September.”

Briefing journalists in Geneva on Friday, UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said that the agency believed the air strike on the school bus constituted “the single worst attack” on children since 2015. “No such number of children have been involved in one incident before,” he added. Mr. Boulierac explained that following the attack, UNICEF staff on the ground reported chaotic scenes at the hospital where victims were being treated, adding that the number of fatalities could rise.

Reiterating the UN chief’s call for Yemen’s belligerents to spare civilians, OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell noted that the bus attack followed a series of more minor – but deadly – incidents involving youngsters last month.

“A large number of children were killed yesterday appallingly, but in July, there are all manner of smaller incidents,” she said. “On 19 July, there were four children killed when a coalition air strike struck a farm. On 30 July, two children were killed when an air strike hit a motorbike. On 31 July, two children were killed; they were out with their sheep, grazing, and they took a direct hit from an aerial strike.”

Turning to the recent targeting of a hospital and other targets in the key Houthi-controlled port city of Hudaydah, the OHCHR spokesperson said that staff there had documented “at least” 41 civilian deaths. Among the dead were six children and four women, Ms. Throssell said, noting that mortars had struck different built-up locations in Al Hawak district.

These included the fishing port, a dock and hangar “at the time full of fishermen and street vendors”, the OHCHR spokesperson explained, adding that Al-Thawra hospital was hit shortly afterwards. In that attack, three mortars were fired, including one that landed in a busy street “full of traffic, street vendors and pedestrians”, Ms. Throssell said.

Between 26 March and 9 August 2018, OHCHR has documented 17,062 civilian casualties in Yemen; this includes 6,592 dead and 10,470 injured. The majority of these casualties – 10,471 – were as a result of air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition, it said in a statement.

Amid ongoing conflict in one of the world’s poorest countries, UNICEF warned that the consequences for children have been particularly striking.

“Every day in Yemen, children are starving, children are dying because of the level of violence and its consequences,” spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said. “1.8 million children are at risk of diarrhoeal diseases, 1.3 million children are at risk of pneumonia, more than 4 million children are in acute need of educational assistance. So, any violence in Yemen, any facility that provides water indirectly threatens the lives of children.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

To realise the full potential of AI, we must regulate it differently

Drug laws must be amended to ‘combat racial discrimination’, UN experts say

‘Continue working together’ UN chief urges DR Congo, as country heads to polls

Do not take the EP’s consent on MFF for granted, says Budget Committee Chair

Students & Allies Unite Globally To Launch #Students_Against_COVID

EU-China: Commission and China hold first High-level Digital Dialogue

Air pollution: Most EU Member States not on track to reduce air pollution and its related health impacts by 2030

5 unexpected ways bicycles have made the world a better place

Post the pandemic: keeping our worlds turning

Big oil’s climate pledges will fail without workforce equality

European welfare states are failing young people

Road safety: Europe’s roads are getting safer but progress remains too slow

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

Human Rights Council election: 5 things you need to know about it

6 things to know about press freedom around the world

The Banking Union divides deeply the European Union

Successful carbon removal depends on these 3 conditions

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

Parliament wants binding rules on common chargers to be tabled by summer

‘Unprecedented terrorist violence’ in West Africa, Sahel region

What is systemic racism, and how can we combat it?

Mental health at stake: A silent epidemic of 21st century

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

ECB: A revolutionary idea to revitalize the European economy with cheap loans to SMEs

Renewed pressures on Berlin to adopt growth policies

Forget 2009, this is the real credit crisis of our time

EU migration crisis again accentuates lack of unity and solidarity among member states

Our idea of what makes a company successful needs to change. And it starts with making waste expensive

Single European Sky: for a more sustainable and resilient air traffic management

Syrians ‘exposed to brutality every day’ as thousands continue fleeing ISIL’s last stand

Coronavirus: EU Civil Protection Mechanism activated for the repatriation of EU citizens

WHO reports ‘very strong progress’ in battling DR Congo Ebola outbreak

The new crisis is already creeping into the financial system

Boris ‘single-handed’ threatens mainland Europe; can he afford a no-deal Brexit?

3 charts that show how global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2018

UN expert condemns new sentence for jailed Venezuelan judge as ‘another instance of reprisal’

6 ways China and the United States could jumpstart trade reforms

London wants to treat violent crime like a disease

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Venezuela: UN human rights office calls for ‘maximum restraint’ by authorities in face of new demonstrations

Junior Enterprises as a solution for Youth Entrepreneurship

Crowdfunding: what it is and what it may become

Climate change: Direct and indirect impacts on health

The EU learns about fishing and banking from tiny Iceland

These technologies are playing a major role at the Cricket World Cup

Most fish consumers support a ban on fishing endangered species, poll finds

Commission supports normalisation in Greece through activation of post-programme framework

Sustainable development demands a broader vision, says new OECD Development Centre report

The West is struggling to hit its climate targets. What would the developing world do differently?

Draghi will not hesitate to zero ECB’s basic interest rate

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

Financiers can turn the world into a dirty and dangerous place

Progress toward sustainable development is seriously off-track

Ten new migratory species protected under global wildlife agreement

‘Still time’ to stop a ‘bloody battle’ for Libya’s capital, insists Guterres

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

Sweden’s forests have doubled in size over the last 100 years

White Coat, Stained red

ECB describes in detail how it exploits the poor

EU summit: Are the London Tories planning an exit from the EU?

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s