[JURIST] The United Nations (UN) [official website] on Friday reported [UN report] that the intense fighting in Yemen has claimed the lives of approximately 551 civilians, 115 of which were children. Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website], noted that this death toll only calculated civilian casualties and that the actual number of lives lost during the fighting is projected to be much higher. He also stated that another 1,185 civilians have been injured. Colville concluded urging all sides contribute to humanitarian aid in the region.
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has sparked significant international concern. Last week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] condemned the targeting of the Ibn Khaldun Hospital in Yemen by combatants [JURIST report]. Also last 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.