Islam Times Exclusive:

The Houthis Respond to Human Rights Watch Latest Report

Islam Times , 21 Apr 2010 11:13

(Islam Times) - The Houthi group responded to Human Rights Watch (HRW) report regarding the fighting that took place in Saada, in which it accused the government and the said group of committing war crimes during the six-month round of fighting, which lasted seven months.


The Houthis’ response, Islam Times correspondent got a copy of it, considered that HRW report that condemns the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia “does not rise to the level of the horrific massacres committed against the civilians, although we have documented and published these crimes, and included testimonies of the citizens and the injured people”.

The Houthis’ response stated that Human Rights Watch did not realize “the reality of the war” when it mentioned in its report that the Houthis made the lives of the civilians vulnerable because of their deployment in densely populated areas.
According to the response, “This deduction clearly reveals that you lack acknowledge of the reality of the war, and that the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia were decidedly targeting the civilians and that they were committing genocide against us. The repeated targeting of civilians, those found in open areas that cannot be suspected such as in the markets and refugee camps, aiming at causing the greatest number of civilian casualties, is much enough to recognize the reality”.

The Houthis mentioned ten bloody incidents, during which the fire of the Yemeni and Saudi aircraft killed and injured hundreds of people.

In fact, Human Rights Watch, in its report announced during a press conference held eight days ago in the United Arab Emirates, urged the government as well as the Houthis to conduct an investigation of what it described as war crimes committed during the six-month round of fighting.
The following is the text of the Houthis’ response:
Honorable Human Rights Watch,
After Greetings and Salutation…

At the beginning, we appreciate your concern over the safety of civilians and we do thank you for your efforts that you have made regarding this humanitarian issue. Thus, we would like to shed the light herein on what has been mentioned in your latest report on the sixth war in northern Yemen.

First: Your condemnation of the Governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia does not rise to the level of the horrific massacres committed against the civilians, although we have documented and published these crimes, and included testimonies of the citizens and the injured people.

Second: In your report, you have mentioned that we have made the lives of the civilians vulnerable on the pretext that we were deploying in densely populated areas. In practice, this deduction clearly reveals that you lack acknowledge of the reality of the war, and that the governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia were decidedly targeting the civilians and that they were committing genocide against us. The repeated targeting of civilians, those found in open areas that cannot be suspected such as in the markets and refugee camps, aiming at causing the greatest number of civilian casualties, is much enough to recognize the reality. Hence, we would like to recall some of those crimes, which include:

1- The massacre of the market of Hidan Directorate, committed on 21/8/2009. As a result, dozens were killed and/or injured.

2 - The massacre of the Ghafra camp/ Majez Directorate, committed on 18/8/2009. As a result, dozens were killed and/or injured.

3- The massacre of the Yasnem camp, committed on 29/8/2009. As a result, dozens were killed and/or injured.

4 - The massacre of the Sudan camp, committed on 29/8/2009. As a result, dozens were killed and/or injured.

5- The massacre of Souq Al-Taleh, committed on 15/9/2008. As a result, dozens were killed and/or injured.

6- The massacre of Al-Adi camp at Harf Sufian / Amran Governorate, committed on 16/9/2008. As a result, hundreds were killed and/or injured.

7- The massacre of Monday’s Souq / Sakin Directorate, committed on 23/10/2008. As a result, dozens were killed and/or injured.

8- The massacre of Souq Bani Main / Razih Directorate, committed on 13/12/2009. As a result, more than one hundred people were killed and/or injured.

9- The massacre of the cantonment of prisoners, committed on 15/12/2009. As a result, hundreds of people were killed and/or injured.
10- The massacre committed in a wedding ceremony on 20/12/2009, at the city of Al-Nadir / Razih Directorate. As a result, dozens were killed and/or injured, including 17 women.

In fact, if you have examined the statements of the Governments of Yemen and Saudi Arabia issued during the war, you could have found plenty of signals that express their willingness to commit genocide. The following are some of those signals.

- The Saudi government more than once expressed its intention to create a population free zone in depth of about tens of kilometers within the territory of Yemen, using air and missile bombardment to achieve this aim. Yet, the Saudi government had been preventing the escape of the displaced people into its border, despite knowing that the province of Saada has been besieged from all directions and that the civilians were not being able to flee abroad. Therefore, Saudi Arabia found no other choice to create a population free zone, except by committing genocide against them.

- The Fatwas of Saudi and Yemeni scholars approved the shedding of our blood on the pretext that we are a deviant and perverse group of people.

- President Saleh expressed more than once his desire to exterminate and eradicate us. In several statements, since the outbreak of the first war in 2004, he repeatedly described us as a straying group that should be eliminated. Only if you have well noticed the provocative campaigns in media, within the military, and in the mosques, you could have found plenty of evidences, which prove those parties’ tendency to commit genocide.

If the people were not taking all the necessary precautions to protect themselves, most notably digging the trenches in the valleys and mountains to guard their families and livestock, they might have been eradicated. Dozens of aircrafts were flying every day in order to chase the grouping of citizens everywhere, not to mention indiscriminately shelling with heavy arms the cities and villages. The images of destruction in the towns and villages in the northern governorates remain a realistic proof of that crime. You can check out any time you like.

Third: You have intended to accuse us of information given by displaced citizens in camps that were controlled by the authority or collaborating with it. Those accusations include committing summary executions, forcing people to fight, conducting pillage and looting using human shields, deliberately preventing civilians to seek medical treatment, and others.
Hence, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the government treats those displaced people as hostages, and that they were unable to testify truthfully because of a fear of the possible consequences that could include being killed. In your report, you have acknowledged that the government did not allow you to investigate the displaced people privately and that your movement has been controlled all along. Therefore, it is wrong to consider those investigations as enough to accuse. You should have rather limited yourself to condemn the authority for not allowing you to conduct an investigation away from supervision and inspection.

Regrettably, your published investigations are similar to those rumors previously published by state media in its media war against us, which include testimonies of citizens being under threat.

We wonder how you missed that publishing such investigations is considered a violation of the rights of those citizens who were forced to give false information in order to protect their lives. Thus, we do excuse those poor citizens, but we find it hard to excuse you because you were aware of the reality of the situation. We are unable to conceal this reproach.

As for those who have collaborated with the authority, they are enemies and their testimonies are incorrect and should not be accepted so that to point the finger at us before verifying them. It is true that you have mentioned that you were not allowed to verify the authenticity of those accusations because the government did not allow you to reach Saada, but you have affirmed in the second part of the report that these accusations are true and this has misled the public opinion. Media reported that the accusations are facts and did not report that you mentioned that you were not allowed to verify their authenticity.
This definitely comes in favor of the instigators of war who are looking for excuses for it to continue.

We stress that these accusations are incorrect and you are welcome to conduct a field investigation to reveal the circumstances.

Third: The report ignored many evidences and proofs that were enough for you to have realistic results of the report. The Authority preventing the humanitarian organizations from entering into Saada “even in times of peace”, not allowing your organization to investigate the displaced people privately, arresting journalists for speaking about the crimes, and refusing to conduct any independent field investigation, all this is enough to prove the incredibility of its claims. On the other hand, our repeated call for conducting independent war investigations, welcoming the entry of humanitarian organizations into Saada, and our commitment to protect them, and to facilitate their work indicates the sincerity of our intentions.

Unfortunately, such evidences did not have any impact on your report, despite being of significant importance.

Fourth: Your report neglected the suffering of the detainees in prisons, and that some of them were being tortured to death, and some of them were executed, as happened in the reform prison prior to the fourth war. During that time, six detainees were being killed. Moreover, the Yemeni detainees, owing to the war, have been maltreated in Saudi prisons, whether the residents who have been arrested on sectarian basis or the people who were crossing the border searching for work. As a proof, the Saudi government has arrested hundreds of Somalis and Ethiopians searching for work, and accused them of participating in the war with us.

As a Conclusion:
We feel sorry because this report had contributed to misleading the public opinion and hid the truth that large parts of the Yemeni people had been facing a genocide. However, it is still possible for you to correct this mistake by visiting the Saada province and other areas in order to witness the extent of the damage and to conduct the necessary field investigations. We reiterate our commitment to protect the investigation team and to provide all necessary facilities to accomplish their mission. We have previously committed ourselves to protect all humanitarian organizations. We also call the United Nations to send a team to conduct field investigations in all residential areas that have been affected by the war.
© Islam Times
Translation By Mayssa Hazimeh


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