Friday, 18 September 2009

UN calls for probe into Yemen's raid on civilians Fri, 18 Sep 2009 22:30:53 GMT

Navi Pillay
United Nations' top human rights official has called for an investigation into a deadly attack on a refugee camp that left over 80 civilians killed in northern Yemen.

In a statement released on Friday, Navi Pillay the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned the Yemeni government to avoid a repeat of the incident, underlining its obligation to protect civilians, Reuters reported.

"It was the second deadly air strike resulting in civilian deaths in the space of three days," she said.

"The government should launch a full-fledged investigation into what went wrong and take immediate measures to try to ensure we do not see a further avoidable tragedy of this nature," Pillay added.

In an effort to crush Zaidi Shia fighters, led by Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, the Yemeni government has launched a fierce operation on the northern Saada province from August 11.

With the fighting having entered its second month, at least 35,000 people have been displaced from their homes and the humanitarian situation in the region is deteriorating, the United Nations has also warned.

Witnesses said over 80 civilians were killed on Thursday after army warplanes bombarded a makeshift camp of displaced people at Wadi Sufyan, at the center of the fighting between government forces and Shia fighters.

Sweden which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU) has also voiced concern on behalf of the 27-nation bloc.

"The Presidency of the European Union reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligation to respect human rights and international humanitarian law," it said in a statement.

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