[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Saturday condemned the targeting of the Ibn Khaldun Hospital in Yemen by combatants. Rebel soldiers and pro-government forces fortified near the hospital [AP report], and the resulting combat forced the hospital to evacuate all but those receiving emergency treatment in violation of the laws of war, according to HRW. The Geneva Conventions [ICRC backgrounder] prohibit attacks on medical facilities. HRW urged all parties to the conflict in Yemen not to target medical facilities [press release] and personnel, or otherwise disrupt the treatment of patients at hospitals.
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has sparked significant international concern. Earlier this week UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged Yemeni combatants to report attacks resulting in civilian casualties [JURIST report] so that they can be investigated and international human rights law can be upheld. Also in April the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] on behalf of US citizens still in Yemen against the US State Department and the Department of Defense for allegedly failing to launch an evacuation plan. The same week, in a unanimous vote, Pakistani lawmakers passed a resolution [JURIST report] to stay out of the conflict in Yemen, despite pleas from Saudi Arabia for aid in the form of warships, aircraft and ground troops. Earlier this month UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Chaloka Beyani urged [JURIST report] the international community to prepare itself for the “massive displacement and humanitarian crisis” that could come as a result of civilians fleeing the fighting in Yemen, stating that they must prepare for a worst case scenario.