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HRW: Yemen rebels preventing aid from reaching besieged city

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called Sunday for Iranian-backed Yemeni insurgents to stop illegally confiscating aid [press release] to people in the besieged of Taiz. HRW claims that rebels have confiscated items including food, water, cooking gas and medical supplies. HRW Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Joe Stork stated that, "[s]eizing property from civilians is already unlawful, but taking their food and medical supplies is simply cruel." Doctors Without Borders [advocacy website] has also had problems in the past trying to get medical supplies into the city but made their first successful delivery of supplies to Taiz in months in the beginning of January. According to UN statistics [DW report] the population of Taiz has plummeted by more than half since the attacks started.

The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen has sparked significant international concern. Earlier this week UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned [JURIST report] that the use of cluster bombs by a Saudi-led coalition against neighborhoods in Yemen may amount to a war crime. Also this month the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said [JURIST report] that the civilian death toll in Yemen has reached nearly 2,800 over nine months of fighting. Last month the UN World Food Programme appealed to all the parties involved in the Yemen conflict to allow the safe passage of food [JURIST report] to the city of Taiz. In October Amnesty International called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes surrounding the destruction of a hospital [JURIST report] run by Doctors Without Borders in Yemen.

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