HRW: Saudi violation of international law in war against Yemen | NGO News

The Saudi-led coalition carried out 87 unlawful attacks killing nearly 1,000 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch.

Saudi Arabia has violated international humanitarian law in Yemen and unjustly imprisoned activists peacefully seeking social reform, a human rights group said on Thursday.

The Saudi-led military coalition that bombarded Houthi rebels in Yemen carried out 87 unlawful attacks killing nearly 1,000 civilians, based in New York Human Rights Watch says in a new report.

The Houthis control most of northern Yemen and the Saudi alliance – backed by the US and UK – launched military operations in March 2015 to drive them out.

The war has decimated the Arab world’s poorest nation with more than 10,000 people killed, disease spreading and millions facing starvation.

The Saudi-led coalition has denied the war crimes allegations.

Back home, more than a dozen political activists were convicted on “vague charges stemming from their peaceful activities” and received lengthy prison sentences, HRW said.

Powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said he wants to modernize the kingdom and introduce social reforms. Women were allowed to attend a men’s soccer match for the first time last week, and a decades-old ban on watching movies in cinemas was lifted this week.

But the United States rights group said the measures were not enough.

“Mohammad bin Salman’s well-funded image as a reformist is falling flat in the face of the humanitarian disaster in Yemen and the dozens of activists and political dissidents languishing in Saudi jails on bogus charges,” Sarah said. Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“Small steps on women’s rights reforms don’t hide Saudi Arabia’s systemic abuses.”