Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the administration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in order to have a positive impact on the situation in Yemen.
The organisation stated in a report published on its website: “The parties to the armed conflict in Yemen have continued to violate the laws of war over the past year, including committing what appear to be new war crimes.”
The report quoted Afrah Nasser, a researcher on Yemen at HRW, stating: “Years of violations have shown that parties to the conflict in Yemen have no incentive to stop their violations, without a real possibility of holding them accountable.”
“The concerned governments should publicly support calls for international accountability measures,” the researcher added.
The report continued: “The Biden administration has the opportunity to make a positive impact in Yemen by stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, at least until stopping unlawful attacks and conducting a credible investigation into previous violations.”
There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia and the UAE regarding the call made by HRW, but Riyadh says that the military intervention in Yemen came in response to the request of the legitimate government. It was motivated by the refusal to accept the destruction of Arab countries, especially with accusations of Iranian interference in the Yemen crisis, which Tehran has denied.
Earlier, the UAE indicated that it had withdrawn from Yemen, but Yemeni government officials confirmed that Abu Dhabi is still present in their country and has local military wings in several governorates.
Saudi Arabia has led a coalition that has carried out military operations in Yemen since 2015 in support of government forces, against the Iran-backed Houthis, who have controlled many provinces including the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.
Six years of war in Yemen have led to the deaths of at least 233,000 people, while 80 per cent of the population (30 million people) are dependent on humanitarian aid amid the worst humanitarian crisis worldwide, according to United Nations estimates.