RIYADH (Dispatches) – Human Rights Watch has denounced the air raids conducted by Saudi Arabia and its allies in Yemen as "war crimes,” calling on the United Nations to launch an investigation into the fatal strikes.
The rights organization cited on Tuesday five "apparently unlawful” Saudi aerial assaults in Yemen between June 9 and August 4, which killed 39 civilians, among them 26 children.
"The Saudi-led coalition’s repeated promises to conduct its airstrikes lawfully are not sparing Yemeni children from unlawful attacks,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at HRW, adding that the attacks "are still wiping out entire families” in Yemen.
"These latest airstrikes and their horrible toll on children should galvanize the Human Rights Council to denounce and act to investigate war crimes, and ensure that those responsible are held to account,” she noted.
The period examined in the HRW report does not cover a deadly Saudi air raid on August 23 against a Sana’a hotel, which left some 60 civilians dead.
Call for Probe Into Saudi Atrocities
Meanwhile, the UN’s human rights chief has called for urgent investigation into Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes against civilians in Yemen.
Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein made the remarks during a Monday speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva after the global body attributed over 5,000 civilian deaths to Saudi Arabian airstrikes.
"The minimal efforts made toward accountability over the past year are insufficient to respond to the gravity of the continuing and daily violations involved in this conflict,” he said.
The latest call for an investigation was the third of such made by the UN's rights chief.
Last week, his office stressed that 47 countries on the Human Rights Council were not taking their responsibilities seriously, and called on them to probe the "entirely man-made catastrophe.”
More than 12,000 people have been killed since the onset of the campaign more than two and a half years ago. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due the war.
The Saudi war has also triggered a deadly cholera epidemic across Yemen.