Yemen: An international call for the rescue of civilians in al-Duraihmi district trapped under the siege by Saudi Arabia-led coalition


Geneva – The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties launched an international appeal to rescue civilians in Yemen’s Duraihmi district from suffering a humanitarian disaster caused by expanded restrictions imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on humanitarian aid and commodities.

The Geneva Council said that al-Duraihmi district in the southern province of Hodeidah on the Red Sea is a stark example of the siege imposed by the coalition, which portends very serious humanitarian consequences and requires immediate international action to end the suffering of civilians who pay dearly for the ongoing conflict. The Geneva Council also pointed out that the Ansarullah group used civilians in the besieged Duraihmi district as human shields, which increases the suffering of its population.

For more than 10 months, more than seven thousand civilians have been suffering from a crippling blockade imposed by the Saudi coalition forces on the Duraihmi district, which has been affecting the flow of food, fuel and medicine, in gross violation of international humanitarian law.
Dozens of families in the area have been living under the threat of death because of the coalition siege, which has led to an increase in deaths due to food shortages and lack of medication, which in turn results in the spread of diseases and epidemics.
In June 2018, Saudi-led forces imposed a land and air blockade on the Duraihmi district located about 20 km from the coastal city of Hodeidah.

Saudi forces did not leave any safe passages for the civilian population to flee, and began then a random campaign of rocket and artillery strikes on the area.
The Geneva Council received testimonies from residents of the Duraihmi district complaining about the repercussions of the siege on their humanitarian and living conditions because of hunger and diseases, as well as their inability to escape due to the lack of safe corridors.
Medical officials at the district warned of the spread of epidemics such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever among the civilian population, not to mention child malnutrition, children and women mental illness, as well as the lack of necessary assistance to them.
The UN World Food Program (WFP) has criticized the Saudi-led coalition systematically targeting food and food storage facilities in Yemen in its four-year campaign.
During the four years of war in Yemen, the international community has been shocked by images of starving children suffering from wasting throughout the country’s besieged zones, in addition to thousands of men and women in desperate condition as their humanitarian situation deteriorates.
The Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties affirms that violations by the coalition through the blockade of residential communities and the imposition of restrictions on humanitarian assistance in Yemen represent a disregard for the suffering of the civilian population and a violation of the prohibition on the use of starvation as a means of war, which amounts to a war crime and crime against humanity.

The human rights Council called on the Saudi-led coalition to immediately end the siege of al-Duraihmi district, to allow rapid access of humanitarian aid to civilians in need and not to arbitrarily interfere with that, and finally not to deliberately cause “starvation of the population, especially by depriving them of food or supplies”.

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