JEDDAH: At least 19 civilians, including three children, have been killed in Yemen over the past two months, despite a nationwide ceasefire, a UN official has said.
The truce was the first tangible ebb in fighting in the past six years of the conflict. On Thursday, Yemen’s warring parties decided to renew the truce for another two months.
Liz Throssell, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told reporters in Geneva that most of the deaths recorded since the truce first went into effect in early April were from land mines, “including improvised mines, and explosive remnants of war.”
However, she said three of the 19 killed from sniper fire in the Taiz and Al-Dale provinces. Two people were seriously wounded by snipers. Also, the agency documented the wounding of four civilians, one of them a girl, by a weaponized drone.
Throssell also said that 32 civilians have been wounded during the two months of truce.
In a statement, the UN Security Council welcomed the extension of the truce in Yemen and “expressed hope that a strengthened truce could be translated into a durable ceasefire and an inclusive, comprehensive political settlement, under the auspices of the UN.”They also reiterated their “deep concern” about the risk of famine in Yemen and urged donors to fund the UN humanitarian appeal, the statement said.
They encouraged the Yemeni parties to continue their engagement with Hans Grundberg, UN special envoy for Yemen, to negotiate and communicate with each other in a spirit of mutual respect and reconciliation.
The UAE praised efforts by the UN “to reach a comprehensive and sustainable political solution and enhance prospects for peace and stability in Yemen and the region.” It called on all countries to support the ceasefire and push the parties to- wards a comprehensive solution.
The UAE also emphasized the pivotal role played by Saudi Arabia in achieving stability and security in Yemen, reiterating its commitment to standing by the Yemeni people and supporting their legitimate aspirations for development and prosperity.
A US State Department spokesman said on Twitter: “This extension brings further relief and hope to millions of Yemenis. Yemen has the opportunity to continue this progress and choose peace instead of war.”
Meanwhile, The Yemeni Network for Rights and Freedoms said on Saturday that the Houthi militia committed 119 humanitarian violations in Taiz during UN-brokered truce.
A report noted that the Houthis’ violations involved killing, wounding, kidnapping, and displacing people, in addition to depriving children of education. Members of the militia also prevented citizens from accessing necessary treatments, food and water.
The rights network accused the Iran-backed group of excessively shelling residential neighborhoods, commercial centers, public markets and streets.
They added that the Houthis’ use of heavy weaponry resulted in many civilian casualties, especially among children and women.