21:15 GMT28 October 2020
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    The UN has accused the Saudi-led military coalition of carrying out a deadly attack on a Somali migrant boat off Yemen in March that killed 42 people and injured dozens more. Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Akshaya Kumar, deputy United Nations director for Human Rights Watch.

    According to a confidential report obtained by Reuters, the boat was targeted by an armed utility helicopter. The report says that the attack violated international humanitarian law and threatened the peace, security and stability of Yemen.

    It went on to accuse the alliance of becoming a cover for some states to avoid individual blame.

    When asked if she expected the UN Security Council to condemn the actions of the Saudi-led coalition forces, Akshaya Kumar said that, even though she didn’t expect any direct condemnation, individual Security Council members, above all the US and Britain, which are the key arms suppliers to Saudi Arabia, could use their leverage and pressure to try to improve Saudi behavior and could "seriously consider stopping the sale of weapons to the Saudis" and their coalition allies in the region.

    “I think that is absolutely essential that the US and the UK take such a step,” she said, adding that “this looks increasingly likely” given the strong public pressure to this effect existing in both countries,” Kumar noted. 

    People gather to fill up their jerrycans with drinking water from a charity tanker truck, amid a cholera outbreak, in Sanaa, Yemen, July 12, 2017.
    © REUTERS / Khaled Abdullah
    People gather to fill up their jerrycans with drinking water from a charity tanker truck, amid a cholera outbreak, in Sanaa, Yemen, July 12, 2017.

    “There is a lot of backlash from civil society to do this,” she added.

    Answering a question about the deteriorating human tragedy on the ground in Yemen and about the possible consequences of the blockade imposed on the country by the Saudi-led coalition, Akshaya Kumar said that even though everyone was aware about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Yemen, there have been strong attempts to thwart all efforts to ease the people’s plight.

    “What we have seen over and over again, is that those who are trying to deliver aid are being obstructed. Now in Yemen you have the highest rate of cholera growth in the world and other serious humanitarian concerns none of which are being addressed to the full extent possible because neither the Saudi-led coalition nor the Houthi side give aid workers the access they need,” she concluded.

    The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015.

    Since then the humanitarian situation in the country has worsened dramatically.

    According to a joint statement issued by the World Health Organization, the UNICEF and the World Food Program on Wednesday, the catastrophic situation in Yemen is turning into world’s largest humanitarian crisis.


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    cholera, arms supplies, humanitarian disaster, victims, airstrike, UN World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF, UN Security Council, Akshaya Kumar, Yemen
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