On Friday, Amnesty International released a new report which examined five airstrikes in Yemen conducted by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition between August and October 2015. The airstrikes targeted five schools and resulted in the deaths of five civilians and injured 14 others, including four children.
The Saudi government has been leading a coalition of Arab nations fighting in Yemen’s civil war since March 2015. Due to online rumors, the schools were reportedly suspected of being used for storing weapons. However, the report, ‘Our Kids are Bombed’: Schools Under Attack in Yemen‘, found no evidence that any of the schools had been used for military purposes.
Although students were not inside the schools during the attacks, the bombing has caused extensive damage to local infrastructure. The bombings severely disrupted the education of more than 6,500 children who attend schools in Hajjah, Hodeidah and Sana’a governorates.
On the eve of peace talks in Switzerland, Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into the attacks and for full reparation to the victims and their families.
“The lack of investigations by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, and those who provide them with arms and other support, into a growing list of suspected unlawful attacks suggests a chilling apathy for the devastating consequences this war has wrought on civilians in Yemen,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.
The report states that UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) has found at least 34% of children in Yemen – around 1.8 million Yemeni children – have not been to school since the air strikes first began in March 2015.
Amnesty International also points out that the United States State Department recently approved an arms transfer worth $1.29 billion to Saudi Arabia, weapons which AI claims are used in unlawful killings of innocent civilians such as the school attacks.
“It is simply appalling that the USA and other allies of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have continued to authorise arms transfers to members of the coalition, despite the clear evidence that they are not complying with the laws of war – international humanitarian law. All such transfers must halt immediately,” said Lama Fakih.
While the United States government and taxpayer continue to fund the global War on Terror and the resulting proxy wars, there are people trying to survive and thrive under the constant threat of bombs raining death from above.
“Right now we are living in fear and terror. Today I saw a plane and I was very afraid and terrified,” said a 12-year-old girl quoted in the report who attended a school in the Red Sea port Hodeidah that was destroyed by bombing in August.