The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in the United States of America seizes this opportunity to categorically denounce the Iran-backed Houthis for their reprehensible actions in Yemen and in particular, would like to draw further attention to the reckless and relentless violent onslaught against the Governorate of Marib perpetrated by the Houthis in recent weeks, whose impacts on the people have been dangerous and whose implications on realizing peace are deleterious.
“The International Community should apply the utmost pressure on the Houthis and demand their total cessation of hostilities in Marib, as was done in the past involving the issue of Hodeidah”, states His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Awad BinMubarak, Ambassador of Yemen to the United States.
The following should also be noted regarding Marib:
1) Because of the conflict in Yemen, both precipitated and protracted by the Iran-backed Houthis, Marib Governorate (i.e., province) has become a sanctuary to the largest number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen, exceeding two million people, and comprising of people who have escaped, evacuated or been expelled from their cities and communities from various regions of the Republic of Yemen.
2) Due to the Houthis persistent hostilities and havoc inflicted, more people are still fleeing and flowing into Marib. Currently, Marib contains 133 camps for IDPs. However, this accounts for only 10% of the displaced currently present in the governorate where the vast majority have been able to integrate into the main city and surrounding areas, which have significantly expanded stemming from the IDP influx. Consequently, the burdens on the local authorities and government of Yemen have massively grown to provide basic services for health, education, housing and infrastructure to keep pace with the steady increase and inflow of IDPs.
3) It was not enough for the Iran-backed Houthis to have forced so many people to abandon their homes and to leave their towns or villages because of the threats to their security, thus obliging them make the lengthy and difficult journey into Marib. But even after these IDPs managed to arrive safely into Marib, the Houthis continue their assault to harm those same innocent civilians by deliberately targeting properties with ballistic missiles. The Houthis have not spared any location from their attacks in Marib, including residential homes, schools and hospitals.
4) The Houthis have also been planting landmines on a large scale in farms, lands, roads, and water sources nearby Marib, to sabotage the population and to hinder people from finding refuge and protection in Marib. Consequently, these landmines have led to the murder or maiming of many people coming from different parts of Yemen, particularly children. Those who have survived from a Houthi landmine detonation must face the deep trauma and endure living with an amputated limb. Although efforts have been underway (such as from the MASAM Project) dedicated to trying to discover and dismantle Houthi landmines with successes achieved in detecting and defusing thousands of Houthi landmines, the Houthis still continue planting indiscriminately more and more landmines.
5) While the Houthis continue to recruit thousands of children and use them for hostilities (including against Marib), in Marib itself, the Government of Yemen with the support of the Arab Coalition has established a center for the rehabilitation of children captured by government forces on the frontlines who were cruelly sent there by the Houthis to fight. These children receive essential care and treatment to recover from the horrible psychological effects from combat and war that has been imposed on them by the Houthis. The center has helped 52,000 children and their families since its establishment in September 2017.
Therefore, the Houthis must definitively halt their military aggression against Marib.
And the international community should both express its categorical condemnation and put forth the maximum diplomatic leverage on the Houthis so as to desist and deter any more violent escalations against Marib by the Houthis (as well as elsewhere) and to make conditions conducive for more stabilization in Yemen.
Indeed, the Houthis actions in Marib have been in egregious violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law. And, all international agencies and relevant human rights organizations must be allowed by the Houthis to gain safe access to Marib to monitor all developments. Unquestionably, they will reach the same determinations and express the same grave concerns that have been asserted by the Government of Yemen.