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HRW: Saudi Continues Using Cluster Munitions in Yemen
Local Editor

Human Rights Watch [HRW] said Friday, that the Saudi-led coalition launched Brazilian-made cluster munition rockets that struck a farm in northern Yemen in late February 2017, wounding two boys.

Astros II Brazilian-made cluster munition

"The Saudi-led coalition's continued use of widely banned cluster munitions in Yemen shows callous disregard for civilian lives," said Steve Goose, arms director at HRW and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition, the international coalition of groups working to eradicate cluster munitions.

"Saudi Arabia, its coalition partners, and Brazil, as a producer, should immediately join the widely endorsed international treaty that bans cluster munitions," Goose added.

Cluster munitions are delivered from the ground by artillery and rockets, or dropped from aircraft and contain multiple smaller explosive sub-munitions that spread out indiscriminately over a wide area. Many fail to detonate and leave unexploded sub-munitions that become de facto landmines, posing a threat long after a conflict ends.

On February 22, at about 3 p.m., Muhammad Dhayf-Allah, 10, and Ahmad Abdul-Khaleq, 12, were working at their relatives' farm at Qahza, in the al-O'albi area of northern Saada governorate, when it was attacked.

Muhammad Hunish Hawza, 60, an uncle of the boys, was in Qahza that day. "We heard blasts in the air, dozens of multiple small blasts together," he said. "The small bombs fell over us."

One of the farm owners, Tareq Ahmad Saleh al-O'airi, 25, said he had been in a greenhouse with the boys pruning cucumber and tomato plants. They heard a blast, went outside, and saw a bomb explode about 50 meters away. He said he told the frightened children to lie down.

Dhayf-Allah was wounded in his left forearm, and Abdul-Khaleq in his right thigh and back. Relatives took the boys to al-Jumhouri Hospital for treatment.

Photographs that al-O'airi provided show part of the bursting mechanism from an ASTROS II cluster munition rocket lying where witnesses said it landed, near a greenhouse at the farm.

ASTROS cluster munition rockets had been used on at least three previous occasions since the Saudi-led coalition began its aggression on Yemen, martyring two civilians and wounding at least 10.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia had purchased ASTROS cluster munition rockets from Brazil, where they are manufactured by Avibrás Indústria Aeroespacial SA.

Since March 26, 2015, a Saudi-led coalition of nine Arab states had conducted military attacks on Yemen.

HRW had documented the coalition's use of cluster munitions in 18 unlawful attacks in Yemen that martyred at least 21 civilians, wounded 74 more, and in some cases, struck civilian areas.

The coalition has acknowledged using US- and UK-made cluster munitions in Yemen, but claims to have done so in compliance with the laws of war.

Source: HRW, Edited by website team

17-03-2017 | 15:35


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