The United Nations on Friday called for an independent and transparent investigation by the Saudi-led coalition into its recent airstrikes on a Houthi-run detention facility in Yemen.
In one of the deadliest single attacks in Yemen’s nearly seven-year civil war, three airstrikes in quick succession struck a Houthi-run detention facility on January 21 in the northern Yemen city of Saada.
Preliminary findings from aid agencies indicated that 91 detainees died and 236 were injured. UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville says allies at Saada this week as part of an inter-agency mission are working to verify civilian casualties.
Colville said, “The information they have gathered paints a chaotic and desperate picture after the remand prison, which was believed to have killed some 1,300 pre-trial detainees as well as 700 migrants in these airstrikes.” was also kept.”
The most seriously injured have been admitted to a hospital in Sada. Colville says medical workers are struggling to cope with the number of patients needing immediate treatment.
The Saudi-led coalition says it has opened an investigation into the attacks. Colville says that such investigations should be conducted in a transparent, independent and impartial manner in line with international standards.
To be credible, he says, the investigation must establish why the prison was killed. It should ensure individual accountability for any violations of international humanitarian law and identify steps to prevent such incidents in the future.
“During our recent visit, our team this week saw no indication that this site, formerly a barracks, is still serving a military function,” Colville said. And in light of this, we have asked the alliance to share their information with us.”
The United Nations last year recorded just 600 airstrikes in a month in Yemen by the government-backed Saudi-led coalition. Also in 2021, it reported that Iran-backed Houthi rebels had carried out 340 missile and drone strikes on Saudi territory.
The escalating conflict has had a devastating effect on Yemen’s civilian population. The United Nations reports that more than 377,000 people have died, 60% from indirect causes such as disease and hunger.