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HRW: Saudi coalition airstrikes in Yemen amount to war crimes

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [text] on Tuesday that five airstrikes launched by a Saudi-led coalition against Yemen in June amount to war crimes due to the indiscriminate killing of 26 children. In 2015, the coalition began unlawful airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen and violated numerous laws-of-war. More than 785 children were killed and 1,168 wounded in Yemen that year, and the UN had attributed 60 percent of those casualties to the coalition. The Saudi government had pledged to change its procedures and prevent further harm to civilians. According to HRW, however, civilians are still being harmed in the conflict and there has been no significant reduction in unlawful airstrikes. Regarding the five airstrikes in June, HRW made the following statement:

These attacks show that coalition promises to improve compliance with the laws of war have not resulted in significantly better protection for children. This underscores the need for the United Nations to immediately return the coalition to its annual “list of shame” for violations against children in armed conflict. The UN Human Rights Council should respond to continuing violations by the Saudi-led coalition, Houthi-Saleh forces, and other parties to the armed conflict by creating an independent, international investigation into abuses at its September session.
According to HRW, there should be no delay in beginning an international inquiry into the coalition's airstrikes. The coalition's Joint Investigation Assessment Team has yet to initiate any investigations.

The conflict in Yemen has resulted in thousands [JURIST report] of deaths since 2015, creating an ongoing concern for human rights. Last October, airstrikes led by the Saudi-led coalition killed [JURIST report] at least 90 prisoners and injured dozens more in the Zaydiyah district of the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, Yemen. UN experts investigating [JURIST report] the October attack on a packed funeral hall in the Yemeni capital, which is currently under rebel control, accused the Saudi coalition last Thursday of violating international humanitarian law. Saudi Arabian led airstrikes on a funeral in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, were [JURIST report] an "apparent war crime," HRW said on the same day as it also called for a credible investigation.According to a report released in early October, the Obama administration conducted [JURIST report] a $1.3 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings that such contribution to the country's activities could implicate the US for war crimes

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