As mortars hit civilian camp in Yemen, the IRC is shocked by the ongoing callous disregard for civilian life

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Sana’a, Yemen, October 23, 2019 — The IRC is deeply troubled by reports of civilian casualties after mortars hit a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Al Dhale’e, Yemen.

Frank McManus, Yemen Country Director at the International Rescue Committee, said,

“There was no military presence in the camp, so it is unclear what the target was. At the least, a number of families were killed after the mortar landed directly on their temporary homes, and many people have fled the site. Those living in this camp have already been displaced from their homes at least once and possibly more due to the war, and are now being forced to flee for their lives once again. With two million people displaced in Yemen, this conflict has gone on far too long, and the people who suffer the consequences and injustices are innocent civilians. The IRC provides life-saving programs in Al Dhale’e, including health, education and protection for women, and have previously been forced to relocate due to this increasingly dangerous frontline.

“The IRC calls for a nationwide ceasefire immediately. All warring parties must abide by international humanitarian law (IHL) and take all necessary precautions to protect civilians from harm. This event is sadly characteristic of a conflict that has been fought with a callous disregard for the lives of Yemeni civilians and rife with violations of IHL. We cannot continue to ignore incidents where civilians end up in the crossfire. Those responsible must be held to account.”

The IRC has been working in Yemen since 2012 and rapidly scaled our programming in 2015 to address greater humanitarian need caused by the conflict. While the ongoing conflict and restrictions of air and seaports create challenges to our operations, the IRC has maintained access to affected populations and continues to provide life-saving healthcare, economic empowerment, women’s protection and empowerment, and education programming.