Today, on the occasion of the International Day for Mine Risk Awareness, the American Center for Justice launches its report on the mine disaster in Yemen, which it called “Lines… the Blind Killer.”
The report of the American Center for Justice monitors and documents cases of killing, injury, and destruction of private property, by mines that the Ansar Allah al-Houthi group isolated from the rest of the parties to the conflict, by planting them in (17) Yemeni governorates where the war battles took place, during the period from June 2014 to February 2022.
The report's authors said that the Houthi group committed these practices systematically in all the military sites it controls, and in the areas and roads from which it withdraws, and worked to manufacture individual mines with local expertise in factories it established using army equipment in the areas it controlled, and distributed these mines and stored them in all The areas are in violation of the international agreements ratified by Yemen, and that the planting of mines was carried out indiscriminately, and often without military necessity.
The report stated that landmines killed (2,526) civilians, including (429) children and (217) women, and wounded (3,286) others, including (723) children and (220) women, in (17) Yemeni governorates, and that 75 % of those affected by landmines were permanently disabled or disfigured throughout their lives.
In its report, the American Center for Justice documented the total destruction of (425) various private means of transport and (163) partially due to landmines, and the killing of (33) workers in the Saudi MASAM project for demining mines in Yemen, including (5) foreign experts, and the injury of (40). ) others.
The American Center for Justice also documented the total destruction of (334) farms, and the death of (2,158) livestock due to the Houthis planting mines, and accused the Houthi group of planting individual mines in roads, pastures, homes, and drinking water wells.
The report found a number of catastrophic results caused by mines, such as obstructing children's access to schools, preventing civilians from reaching pastures and farms, forcing civilians in villages and rural areas to forcibly displace, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching vulnerable groups.
The report stated that the engineering teams of the Masam project managed, from the launch of the project on July 1, 2018, until the end of February 2022; Who cleared and destroyed (322,789) thousand mines, explosive devices and unexploded ordnance; As for the total area that was secured by the Saudi project teams for demining Masam until the end of February 2022 (30,837,206) square meters of Yemeni territory, it was booby-trapped with unexploded ordnance, mines and explosive devices.
The report recommended that the Houthi group abide by the principles of the Ottawa Convention, which Yemen ratified, and the group declared its commitment to it within its commitment to all the obligations of the Republic of Yemen. Which criminalizes importing, manufacturing and planting mines and explosive devices of any kind or form.
The recommendations addressed to the Houthi group included; Immediately stop using individual mine weapons of all kinds, imported or locally manufactured, and destroy the entire stockpile of these mines, and commit legally and morally not to re-manufacture or import them again under any justification.
He directed other recommendations to the legitimate government to provide the necessary assistance to mine victims, provide the cost of their travel abroad, improve mine clearance efforts, including training and coordination between agencies working in this field, and take all necessary legal measures to hold accountable those responsible for planting individual or vehicle mines, whether they are individuals or groups as human rights violators; before national or international courts.
The American Center for Justice called on the international community to open an independent investigation into the excessive and indiscriminate use of landmines by the Houthi group. Without military necessity that necessitates this in most cases and in flagrant violation of the provisions of the 1997 Ottawa Convention, and the inclusion of the military leaders of the group involved in killing civilians with mines within the sanctions list issued by the Security Council, and providing support to the legitimate government to help landmine victims to alleviate their suffering, and to save the lives of those with permanent disabilities and injuries And putting pressure on the Houthi group to immediately stop using mines, and to provide maps of the areas planted with these weapons.
In addition to that; The American Center for Justice recommended that the Saudi Masam Project for demining in Yemen continue their efforts in clearing mines, and reach all mined areas in Yemen.