International non-governmental organizations working in Yemen strongly condemn a series of attacks by the Saudi-led coalition on a former community college that has lately been used as a detention facility in Dhamar city. These attacks have reportedly led to the deaths of over 100 people, with many injured. This latest incident once again demonstrates the absolute disregard for civilian life that has been consistently shown by all parties to the conflict in Yemen.
Those being held at the facility in Dhamar were detainees and as such they are civilians who must be protected from harm under International Humanitarian Law (IHL). We urgently call for an independent, credible investigation into this incident, to find out what happened and hold the perpetrators to account.
As we approach the Human Rights Council session in Geneva next week, these attacks are a reminder of the continual and unrelenting violence being perpetrated against Yemen and its people, and of the imperative to hold to account those who continue to breach IHL.
Further, it is also unacceptable that a community college is being used as a detention center. Schools and colleges constitute essential civilian infrastructure and should be providing educational opportunities to a generation of young Yemenis who at this stage in the almost five-year conflict are seeing their futures vanish – it is essential that these facilities are protected from being used as prisons or military facilities. It is also essential that all civilian infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, water supply systems, agriculture facilities and others remain protected from harm by all sides in the conflict.
We call on all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to prevent harm to civilians and to respect and protect civilian life and infrastructure. The only way forward for Yemen and the only way out of this war is a constructive, inclusive, sustainable political solution that puts the Yemeni people at the center.