On the International Day for Mine Awareness, the American Center for Justice (ACJ) releases its report on the mines in Yemen which is entitled “Mines.. Blind Killer”
The (ACJ) report monitors and documents the killing, injury and destruction of private property by mines which are planted solely by the Ansar Allah group (the Houthis) in (17) Yemeni governorates where war battles took place during the period from June 2014 to February 2022.
The report writers said that the Houthi group has systematically committed this violation in all the military sites it controls, as well as the areas and roads the group withdrew from. The group also manufactures individual mines with local expertise in factories it established using the military equipment in their areas of control. Moreover, the Houthis distributed and stores these mines in all areas controlled by them in vilation of the international conventions ratified by Yemen, noting that these mines have been placed indiscriminately and often without any military necessity.
The report mentioned that mines have killed (2526) civilians, including (429) children and (217) women and injured (3286) others, including (723) children and (220) women in 18 Yemeni governorate and that 75% of those injured by the Houth-laid mines have been permanently disabled or maimed.
The American Center for Justice also documented in its report the total destruction of (425) different means of transport and the partial damage of (163) others due to landmines, as well as the killing of (33) disposal experts working for Masam, the Saudi Project for Mine Clearance in Yemen, (5) of whom were foreigners, in addition to the injury of (40) other workers.
(ACJ) also documented the total destruction of (334) farms and the death of (2158) of livestock due to the mines planted by the Houthis and accused the Houthi group of planting anti-personnel mines on farms, in roads, grasslands, houses and drinking water wells.
The report found a number of catastrophic findings caused by mines, such as impeding children’s access to schools, preventing civilians from reaching pastures and farms, forcing civilians in villages and rural areas to be internally displaced, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching vulnerable groups.
According to the report, the engineering teams of Masam project, since its launch on July 1, 2018 until the end of February 2022, cleared and destroyed (322789) mines, IEDs and unexploded ordnance. While the total area secured by the teams of the Saudi project for Mine Clearance, Masam until the end of February 2022 amounted to (30.837,206) square meters of Yemeni lands which were booby-trapped with unexploded ordnance, mines and explosive devices.
The report recommended the Houthi group to commit to the principles of the Ottawa Convention ratified by Yemen, which incriminates the import, manufacture and planting of mines and explosive devices of any kins, and this is the convention the group announced its commitment to as part of its commitment to all the obligations of the Republic of Yemen.
The recommendations addressed to the Houthi group also included: stopping immediately the use of all types of imported or locally manufactured individual mine weapons, destroying the entire stocks of these weapons and committing legally and morally not to re-manufacture or import them again under any justification.
The report also addressed other recommendations to the Yemeni governorate to provide the necessary assistance to the mine victims and provide their cost to travel abroad for treatment, in addition to improving the demining efforts including training and coordination between agencies working in this field and taking the required legal measures to hold the ones responsible for planting anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines accountable and bring them before the local and international courts since they are human rights violators.
(ACJ) called on the international community to necessary conduct an independent investigation into the excessive and indiscriminate planting of mines by the Houthi group often without military necessity in flagrant violation of the provisions of the 1997 Ottawa Convention. The center also recommended the international community to include the military leaders of the Houthi group involved in the crimes of killing civilians with mines in the list of sanctions issued by the Security Council and to support to the Yemeni government to provide assistance to the landmine victims in order to alleviate their suffering and to save the lives of the permanently disables and injured victims. Furthermore, (ACJ) recommends the international community to pressure the Houthi group to stop immediately the use of mines and provide maps of the areas where mines were placed.
In addition, the American Center for Justice recommends Masam, the Saudi Project for Mine Clearance in Yemen to continue their great efforts to clear mines and reach all mined areas in Yemen.