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Saudi-Led Coalition's Cluster Bombs Wound Children in Yemen - HRW

© AP Photo / Mohammed ZaatariA cluster bomb
A cluster bomb - Sputnik International
Human Rights Watch called on Saudi Arabia and Brazil to stop dropping prohibited cluster bombs on Yemen.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Saudi-led coalition used Brazilian-made cluster munition rockets in an attack on the northern Yemeni province of Saada in February, wounding at least two civilians, a human rights watchdog said Friday.

"The Saudi-led coalition’s continued use of widely banned cluster munitions in Yemen shows callous disregard for civilian lives… Saudi Arabia, its coalition partners, and Brazil, as a producer, should immediately join the widely endorsed international treaty that bans cluster munitions," Steve Goose, the arms director at Human Rights Watch (HRW) and chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition, was quoted as saying in the HRW statement.

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According to HRW, on February 22, two boys, aged 10 and 12, were injured by munitions and taken to al-Jumhouri Hospital for treatment. Photographs provided by a neighboring farm-owner show part of the mechanism of an ASTROS II cluster munition rocket.

Goose stressed that "Brazil should recognize that cluster munitions are prohibited weapons that should never be manufactured, transferred, or used because of the harm inflicted on civilians." The rights watchdog urged all parties to the conflict to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions, aimed at eradicating the use of cluster munitions.

Yemen's civil war between the internationally recognized Aden-based government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Houthi movement backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh erupted in March 2015. The same month, the Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries started carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request.

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Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have since documented numerous uses of cluster munitions, manufactured by the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil. HRW has documented a total of 17 such attacks in Yemen since March 2015, which have killed at least 21 civilians, and wounded 72 more. The coalition has acknowledged their use, and in December announced it was ceasing its use of UK-manufactured cluster munitions.

Since 2008, the Convention on Cluster Munitions signed by 119 countries prohibits cluster munitions. The United States, Yemen, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia were not among the signatories.

According to the official data, the conflict in Yemen has claimed the lives of some 4,600 civilians, leaving over 8,000 civilians injured.

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