The seminar was held at the hall of the House of International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland on September 29th, 2021, Geneva and organized by The Yemeni Coalition for Independent Women and in cooperation with allied European organizations for peace in Yemen
Mr. Magdi El-Akwa, Secretary General of the International Caucus for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms
• Mr. Mansour Al-Shadadi, President of the European-Yemeni House for Human Rights
• Mr. Nasser Al-Qadari, President of the Yemeni Dutch Center for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms
• Bushra Al-Jubeihi, human rights activist
Magdi whom chaired the symposium said at the opening: “We welcome everyone to the symposium, and we all know that Ma’rib was one of the first governorates that was an impenetrable dam to confront the Houthi coup, and Ma’rib in the recent period has been subjected to fierce strikes by the Houthi militia, and civilians and homes for the displaced are being bombed by this militia.”
Mansour spoke about the legal position on the military attack on Ma’rib and said: “The Houthis attacked Ma’rib after they took control of Sanaa and began to expand and headed to Ma’rib which witnessed the fiercest wars in 2014. The first attack was a cruel attack, and Ma’rib lost civilians in it. The resistance to the Houthi militia, a comprehensive battle began in Ma’rib, February 2020, after the military attack and the major escalation launched by the Houthi militia on February 7. This attack has cost a very large human toll, especially among civilians who were constantly exposed to indiscriminate and deliberate strikes. In order to achieve a military victory, these strikes, and attacks vary from long-range and ballistic missile strikes to drone strikes, mortars, Katyushas, and everything that can complicate the lives of civilians. There is a shameful silence from the international community and international organizations about what is happening in Marib by the Houthi militia.”
The reasons for the war began since the coup of the Houthi militia against the outcomes of the national dialogue in 2014, and there is a rebellion that occurred by the militia against the state.
All international laws guarantee governments and the state to resist any rebellion or unrest that threatens its sovereignty and the safety of its citizens, a right that the legitimate Yemeni government exercised after armed groups threatened national unity and invaded cities from the Houthi militia.
Ma’rib stood by the government and constitutional legitimacy, and declared in conferences and debates that it is committed to what the Yemenis agreed upon, and therefore the elected or agreed legitimate authority is the authority that can be dealt with. There is no legal discrepancy or doubt that there is any scope that could be exploited to justify the attack. That is why the attacking party, the Houthi militia, bears the full legal and moral responsibility for the attack on Marib and the consequences that it may have on all levels.”
Nasser spoke about the violations and grave crimes committed by the Houthi militia in Ma’rib and said: “What is happening in Ma’rib is another attempt to destroy, forcible displacement and criminal attacks that we are used to and the international community is used to expect from the Houthi militias backed by the Iranian regime, because it is not the first time that they are trying to do so. Militias penetrate residential cities and demolish them, and what we see now of desperate attempts to seize Ma’rib is indeed a very dangerous matter that must be analyzed and explained to the international community and the world.
The Houthi militia in Ma’rib is trying to repeat the same scene that it presented in the areas it controlled. Field reports documented many violations committed by the militias from six years ago until last week this month against innocent and safe civilians in several of Ma’rib districts.
In the Al-Rahba district, southwest of Ma’rib, the militias targeted the homes of citizens with missiles, heavy artillery and drones, which caused the killing and wounding of a large number of civilians, forcing them to flee to other districts to escape the fire of the Houthi militia, and this scene was repeated in the Juba district.
There are also forcible displacement operations carried out by the Houthi coup group against families from the Bagssa area and the village of Fatra in the district of Rahba. The artillery and missile shelling on the village of Fatra is still up to the moment. Finally, a human rights report documented the Houthi militia’s thousands of violations in Ma’rib Governorate during the period between June 2015 and June 2021, these violations resulted in the complete destruction of 39, and 109 public facilities partially destroyed. More than 2322 private facilities were damaged, 1726 were partially damaged and 596 private facilities were completely destroyed. In addition, 26 public and private service facilities were blown up. For example, but not limited to, a mosque was blown up in Sirwah and a school in Al Salah in Majzar district and 24 houses were blown up in Majzar and Serwah district. Also, 69 cases of assault on Taiba facilities and facilities were documented through the report, 16 cases of denial and obstruction of access to humanitarian aid and 7 cases of assault on Archaeological and historical places, in fact, all of this reflects the seriousness of the situation that the Ma’rib Governorate suffers from and the extent of violence to which its residents are exposed.
Here, we call on the international community to move quickly to save the Ma’rib governorate and its civilians from Houthi terrorism.
We also call on the international community to take the necessary measures to protect innocent civilians and the displaced in the governorate, and we demand that the Houthi militias be placed on the list of terrorist organizations because of the damage and intimidation they have caused to cities and civilians.
Al-Jubeihi spoke about the situation of the displaced in Ma’rib and the humanitarian situation, and said: “The continuation of the attack on the Yemeni city of Ma’rib, located in the north-east of Yemen, has exacerbated the humanitarian situation of the displaced. The UN report issued in August of this year 2021 indicates that the conditions in camps The displaced are pitiful, and that they have exceeded their absorptive capacity, and the report indicated that dozens of displaced families are building their own shelters, using old blankets and plastic sheets, due to the scarcity of humanitarian aid, and there is an acute shortage of clean water, latrines, electricity and health facilities, with the inability to deliver Aid reaches about 80 percent of those in need due to the prevailing insecurity, as these families have been displaced near active frontlines. With nine out of ten squatter camps being built on private land and without agreements to occupy them, residents are increasingly afraid of the threat of eviction, while Rents have risen after the recent wave of displacement, as the percentage of displaced families who are unable to afford rent on a regular basis has reached a massive level of more than 85% due to the scarce livelihood opportunities, A quarter of the displaced in Marib lack sources of income.
She concluded her speech with recommendations, including stopping the continuous attacks that kill innocent lives in one way or another, facilitating the entry of humanitarian aid to the displaced and affected people from the people of Ma’rib, allowing humanitarian organizations to carry out their work without condition or restriction, and finally providing a long-term economic rescue package to Yemen that will help stabilize the economy and strengthening the financial system to prevent a further rise in food prices and improve living conditions.