According to Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes against Yemen have targeted schools still in use by civilians. If these accusations are true, then Saudi Arabia has violated international law.
Amnesty International cites five airstrikes between August and October that hit Yemeni schools. According to their estimates, Saudi Arabia’s five airstrikes in August and October prevented the safe and continuous education of more than 6,500 children.
More than 1,000 schools cannot be used because of Saudi violence: 254 have been destroyed, 608 are damaged, and 421 are being used as shelters by the displaced, writes Rose Troup Buchanan of the Independent. One school in Sanaa was bombed four times in the span of a few weeks.
Students were not in the schools at the time of the airstrikes, but 14 injuries and 5 deaths have resulted. Four of the casualties were children, reports the BBC.
The report by Amnesty International was entitled “Our kids are bombed: schools under attack in Yemen.” It stated that the strikes were unlawful because of they purposefully targeted civilians.
According to Amnesty International UK, Lama Fakih, a senior crisis advisor with the organization, said:
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against the Arms Trade said:
“This is another sign that the UK’s arms export system is broken. For decades the UK has focused on pouring arms into the Middle East and one of the results of that is the humanitarian catastrophe being unleashed on Yemen.
The UK needs to end arms sales to Saudi and revoke all licenses for arms that are being used in Yemen. By continuing to arm and support the Saudi bombardment the UK is complicit in the destruction taking place.
The US State Department approved a transfer worth $1.29 billion to Saudi Arabia last month, including general purpose bombs from the Mark/MK89 series, which Amnesty International has recorded being used in unlawful airstrikes.
The Arab coalition intervened in Yemen beginning in March when a minority group called the Houthi, loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, clashed with southern separatists and their leader Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. In total, 5,000 people have died and 27,500 have been injured. Infrastructure has been destroyed, resulting in problems delivering humanitarian aid.
Since then, at least 34% of Yemeni children haven’t returned to school, totaling 1.8 million students.
Saudi Arabia has said that they are innocent of these accusations and have not targeted any civilian infrastructure.
The British Ministry of Defense has said that the UK is also innocent and has “received assurances that they are complying” with international laws.