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HRW: Rebel Landmines Kill, Maim Civilians & Hinder Aid Efforts

Human Rights Watch says the intensive use of land mines by Yemen’s Houthi rebels kills innocent civilians and hinders aid intended for the needy people in war-raged Yemen, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

The international rights group says in its revealed report today that at least 140 people, including children, have been killed in the two governorates of Taiz and Hodeida since 2018, as the Houthis have blanketed farmlands, wells, and roads with anti-personnel and anti-vehicle mines.

Reported deaths and injuries by landmines in Yemen since January 2018. Source: Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, 2019.

“Houthi-laid landmines have not only killed and maimed numerous civilians, but they have prevented vulnerable Yemenis from harvesting crops and drawing clean water desperately needed for survival,” said Priyanka Motaparthy, acting emergencies director at Human Rights Watch. “Mines have also prevented aid groups from bringing food and health care to increasingly hungry and ill Yemeni civilians.”

HRW found evidence that in addition to laying anti-personnel landmines, Houthi forces planted anti-vehicle mines in civilian areas, modified anti-vehicle mines to detonate from a person’s weight, and disguised improvised explosive devices as rocks or parts of tree trunks. Human Rights Watch also found that the Houthis have used antipersonnel mines in Hayran, near the Saudi Arabia border, and confirmed their use of naval mines despite the risk to commercial, fishing, and aid vessels.

The Houthi authorities should immediately cease using these weapons and credibly investigate and appropriately punish commanders responsible for their use, Human Rights Watch said. Both the UN Group of Eminent Experts and the Security Council Panel of Experts should investigate Houthi landmine use and identify individuals responsible for widespread use where possible. The Panel of Experts should investigate individuals who may be responsible for war crimes, including impeding aid indispensable for the survival of civilians.

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