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Yemen: The Unstoppable Attack on Children

By: Khaled A. BaRahma

Credit: Mohammed Huwais/AP/Getty Images/GPF

A Houthi artillery barrage killed 11 children playing outside their houses in Taiz on Saturday afternoon as they fired an artillery barrage against the densely populated city. During a Saturday attack on Taiz Governorate, southwest of Yemen, a six-year-old Yemeni boy died.

Several similar deadly attacks have occurred over the past four months, including the bombing of Taiz by the Houthis. Anthony Hayward, the UN envoy in Taiz, was attacked while he was there, as international pressure builds on both sides to end the war. He was visiting the warring parties to urge them to agree to a six-month truce extension.

Attacks that kill and maim the innocent continue to be condemned worldwide, including by human rights organizations, governmental organizations, and the UN. It is in the interests of Taiz's people to have the truce achieved in all its aspects after suffering greatly during seven years of war. The UN envoy expressed grave concern over this attack and others that occurred elsewhere in Yemen during the truce.

Human rights defenders in Yemen are demanding more pressure on the Iran-backed group after a Houthi militia attack killed and injured children in Taiz, angering human rights defenders. The truce expires on August 2 and the government is calling for more pressure on the Iran-backed militia. 11 children, mostly under the age of 10, were injured in the Houthi attack on al-Rawda neighborhood, and one boy later died. There are some critically ill children among the refugees.

As the latest breach of the UN-backed truce, the Houthi militia shelled the area. Taiz has been besieged by the Houthis for seven years. As for the attack which occurred while UN Ambassador Antony Hayward visited Taiz, the National Alliance of Yemeni Political Forces strongly condemned it. As part of its call on the government and the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) of Yemen to protect everyone facing injustice and persecution, the Alliance defined the attack as shameful and inhumane. Aside from supporting popular movements that rebel against the Houthis and protect Yemenis' rights to life, freedom, and dignity, the Alliance demanded support from the international community. Yemeni parties made a statement on Sunday expressing their regret over what they considered international "impotence" in the face of ongoing Houthi attacks.

According to Yemeni parties, the suffering of the people is due to a war waged continuously and comprehensively by the Houthis against everything in Yemen. For over eight years, Houthis have hindered Yemenis' ability to live properly. As the international community is unable to convince the Houthis to commit to any agreement, Yemeni parties slammed it for binding the government to agreements. Houthi militias are committed to daily violations of human rights, calling on UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg to act on these violations.

As the capital of the same name and province as well as being Yemen's third largest city, Taiz is under siege by rebel forces since early 2016. Houthi militias refuse to implement one of the main provisions of a humanitarian truce that went into effect on April 2, which was to lift the siege of Taiz and open roads. Despite concessions from the Yemeni government, two UN proposals have been submitted.

Yemen has been engulfed in a civil war since September 2014, when the Houthi militia defeated Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi's internationally recognized government. Several governorates, including Sanaa, are controlled by Iranian-backed Houthis, and the Arab coalition has been supporting government forces in Yemen since March 2015.

It has resulted in the direct or indirect death of hundreds of thousands of civilians, along with millions of displaced people, making it the world's worst humanitarian crisis.



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