The Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced [Advocacy website] yesterday that cluster-munitions were used on the Yemini city of Saada on December 6, which killed two civilians and wounded six more. HRW stated that is is believed the cluster-munitions were launched by Saudi Arabian forces, who have previously launched attacks on the city, but additional investigations are needed to determine conclusively that they were the source of the December 6 attack. Cluster munitions are banned under the Convention of Cluster Munitions, [text, PDF] which was adopted in 2008 and has been signed by of 100 countries. The convention requires [Convention website] the ban of cluster munitions because they are not able to distinguish between civilians and combatants, and they also result in many unexploded munitions which pose a continued risk to civilians. An administrator at a school impacted by the bombing stated that students were not able to return to the school the next day because they needed to first search the school for unexploded submunitions. The cluster bombs are believed to have been made in Brazil. Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Brazil are not signatures of the Convention of Cluster Munitions. The United States, who is also not a signature on the convention, had suspended transfers of cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia in May.
The UN had previously accused [JURIST report] Saudi Arabia of violating international laws in October due to their attack on a funeral in Yemen. In September, international human rights groups issued a joint letter [JURIST report] to the permanent representatives of member and observer states of the UN Human Rights Council urging them “to support the High Commissioner’s call [JURIST report] for an international, independent investigation into civilian deaths and injuries in Yemen.” In July Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] Saudi Arabia and other coalition members to create an independent international inquiry into their attacks on civilian economic structures in Yemen. In March two human rights groups called [JURIST report] for the US, the UK and France to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia due to accusations and evidence that the weapons are being used in attacks against Yemen.