On Sunday, April 22rd 2018, a Saudi-led coalition airstrike struck a wedding party in al-Raqa village, in the north-western province of Hajjah, Yemen. At least 20 were killed and another 45 wounded, though the provincial hospital put the death toll higher.
Those killed include the bride and many other women and children. At least 30 children were injured and some were in critical condition. The groom is also amongst the injured.
Our latest data shows that in 2017 there was a 38% increase in civilian deaths from explosive violence globally, compared to 2016.
Of the total civilian casualties 45% were caused by airstrikes, mainly in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The number of civilian casualties from airstrikes in 2017 was almost 50% higher than in 2016.
In Yemen, between 2015, when Saudi-led coalition airstrikes began, and 2017, AOAV has recorded 7,648 civilian death and injuries from air-launched weapons. Of these, at least 85% were killed and injured in populated areas.
The destruction of civilian infrastructure has contributed significantly to the wider humanitarian emergency with over 20 million Yemenis in need of humanitarian assistance.
There have been many calls for states to suspend their arms trade with Saudi Arabia, with the UK’s High Court ruling such sales as legal, despite evidence suggesting Saudi airstrikes had “committed serious breaches of international humanitarian law in the course of its engagement in the Yemen conflict”.
AOAV condemns the attack in Yemen and calls upon states to recognise the civilian impact of explosive weapons with wide-area impacts, which all too often result in the death and injury of scores of civilians. AOAV encourages all states supplying arms to Saudi Arabia to suspend these sales until proper investigations have been conducted and such attacks cease to occur.
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