[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Chaloka Beyani [official profile] on Wednesday urged [press release] 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. The crisis, unless rapidly resolved, “could lead to mass displacement in the wake of heavy and ongoing fighting and airstrikes,” according to the human rights expert. The last two weeks have seen more than 540 people killed in the conflict, 311 of which were civilians and 74 of which were children. UN humanitarian agencies estimate that more than 10,000 people have already been displaced. Beyani went on to condemn what seems to be the targeting of internally displaced persons in the air bombing campaign. He predicts that the scale of internal displacement, though currently unclear, will increase significantly in the next few weeks as the conflict continues.
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen [JURIST news archive] has sparked major international concern. Earlier this month UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valarie Amos expressed concern [JURIST report] for the safety of civilians in Yemen. Human Rights Watch and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official websites] have also each recently expressed concern [JURIST report] for civilian lives as Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen have continued. In March, during an emergency meeting, the UN special envoy to Yemen warned [JURIST report] the UN security Council that the situation in Yemen is teetering on the brink of civil war. In February UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged [JURIST report] Yemen to reinstate President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.