Via MSF.org, an op-ed first published in Liberation by Dr. Mego Terzian, president of MSF France: Yemen: War Crimes and Severe Shortages. Excerpt:
The malaria season has begun and suspected cases of haemorrhagic fever are rising. While MSF has managed to obtain the necessary authorisations to bring over 100 tons of drugs and medical supplies into the country, ministry of health facilities and private clinics have not so they are receiving no supplies whatsoever. As in Aden, the price of flour has increased by 70% in some areas and meat is all but non-existent. Data collected by MSF in Khamir and Saada show that 15% of children are under-nourished.
War crimes and severe shortages result in the population being subjected to double the suffering, caused not only by the different parties to the conflict but also Resolution 2216 (2015) adopted by the United Nations Security Council in April. Proposed by Jordan and actively supported by the United States, Great Britain and France, the declared purpose of the Resolution under Chapter VII of the Charter was to put an end to the violence in Yemen, by imposing, among others, an arms embargo on the Houthis.
The military coalition was thus presented with a blank check to bomb all infrastructure such as roads, airports, ports and petrol stations that could afford a military advantage to the rebels and impose restrictions on air and maritime trade which have rapidly resulted in isolating the entire country from the outside world.
It is abundantly clear that the Resolution chose the wrong target as, far from “putting an end to violence”, it has fuelled the warring appetites of the various parties to the conflict and tightened the stranglehold on the population.
Apart from only too few convoys, the United Nations – which never ceases to express its grave concern over the humanitarian situation – has not set up a supply line to facilitate transport of basic necessities such as drugs, food and fuel.
In view of what we are witnessing in Aden, we fear that the coalition-led offensives seeking to regain territory from the Houthis will, in the short-term, inflict yet more violence on civilians caught between the warring parties and expose them to armed reprisals.
Furthermore, we also fear that those countries who support the coalition in its quest “to liberate” Yemen – whatever the cost – will view such violence as acceptable collateral damage. A collateral damage that may be of little concern to governments – as we have come to understand in recent months during our attempts to rally diplomats in Paris, Geneva and Washington on the need to put pressure on the warring parties to spare civilian lives.
There is still time for those States responsible for the human cost of the conflict to do all in their power to lessen this cost by sanctioning as such the war crimes committed by all the various parties and urgently restoring the population’s access to essential services.