No peace talks, ceasefire stop civilian casualties in Yemen

UN spokesman says despite peace talks and ceasefire civilians continue to be victims of conflict in Yemen, adding at least 81 killed in December

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

A man sits on the rubble of the houses after heavy clashes in Yemen.

Ongoing peace talks and ceasefire in Yemen have not been a solution to prevent civilian casualties, said the United Nations on Tuesday, marking the number of deaths in the last month of 2015 to at least 81.

"During the month of December, at least 62 civilians were reported to have been killed by air strikes attributed to the coalition forces," said a spokesman for the UN Human Rights Agency, Rupert Colville.

Colville said that most of the civilian casualties were caused by Saudi-led air strikes and the rest by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who were been backed by the former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The spokesman said number of casualties had been doubled when compared to the previous month.

He said that 11 civilians were killed by Houthi rebels and their allies in December and eight of the casualties have not yet been conclusively attributed to either side.

UN-brokered peace talks between the fighting parties in Yemen started on December 15, in Switzerland and a ceasefire began on the same day.

However, a dramatic increase has been observed in the number of casualties, despite all efforts to end the conflict in the country.

The peace talks did not succeeded the aimed purpose and ended just five days later after it started with no major breakthrough, which followed by the collapse of repeatedly violated ceasefire on January 2. The first violation of the ceasefire came just minutes after it had been declared.

According to the UN figures, at least 8,100 civilians have been killed in Yemen since the conflict started.

The conflict in Yemen started last year when Houthi militias captured the capital Sanaa, heading towards the southern cities and forcing the government to flee to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia then has led a coalition launching an aerial campaign after President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi requested to “save Yemen.”

Currently, 80 percent of Yemen’s population is in desperate need of humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs or protect their fundamental rights, including security and safety of civilians and provision of essential services.

Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.

TRTWorld and agencies