From Human Rights Watch:

The Houthi and forces loyal to Yemen’s former President Saleh have been using banned antipersonnel landmines in at least 6 governorates since March of 2015. The use of these mines has caused civilian casualties and is hindering the return of displaced families to their homes.

Human Rights Watch researchers visited the southern port city of Aden in early 2017, and interviewed and collected data from mine clearance experts, local security officials, landmine victims, and activists, and interviewed victims and activists in other governorates by phone. Human Rights Watch investigated 10 incidents where landmines laid by Houthi-Saleh forces in Sanaa, Marib, Aden, and Taizz governorates exploded, killing two people and wounding eight.

According to information from the Center for Prosthetic Limbs and Physiotherapy in Aden, 24 people have lost limbs due to landmines. And in Taiz governorate between May 2015 and April 2016, at least 18 people were killed and another 39 injured in landmine explosions.

Human Rights Watch is asking they stop using these mines immediately because they are violating the laws of war and those involved are committing war crimes. They need to observe the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which was ratified by Yemen in 1998.

For more information on landmines and the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, see the-monitor.org (Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor).

Antipersonnel landmines are explosive devices designed to injure or kill people. They can lie dormant for years and even decades under, on, or near the ground until a person or animal triggers their detonating mechanism.

Article 2.1 of the Mine Ban Treaty defines an antipersonnel mine as: “a mine designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons.” This means that the treaty bans the use of mines which are victim-activated, while the use of some mines in “command-detonated” mode (meaning operated by remote control) is allowed under the treaty.

Yemen’s army admits that this is a huge problem and that they are struggling to find the landmines. Soldiers are trying to clear them by hand because they do not have enough equipment.

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