Amnesty accuses anti-Houthi fighters of threatening hospital employees in Ta’iz, Yemen


Amnesty International has reported that anti-Houthi forces in Yemen’s southern city of Ta’iz have been threatening hospital employees during the past six months.

The anti-Houthi armed forces are also accused of stationing fighters and military positions near medical facilities.

The report claimed that the fighters set up defensive positions by parking tanks around the hospital compound.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director Philip Luther said: “There is compelling evidence to suggest that anti-Houthi forces have waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against medical professionals in Ta’iz.

"There is compelling evidence to suggest that anti-Houthi forces have waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against medical professionals in Ta’iz."

“By positioning fighters and military positions near medical facilities they have compromised the safety of hospitals and flouted their obligation to protect civilians under international law.”

When interviewed by the human rights organisation, 15 doctors and other hospital staff described how members of anti-Houthi armed forces regularly harassed, detained or even threatened to kill them.

Luther further added: “Attacks targeting health professionals or medical facilities are prohibited by international humanitarian law and can constitute war crimes.”

According to the report, hospitals were shut down in at least three cases due to threats against staff.

The Al-Thawra hospital temporarily suspended its surgical operations after a mortar fired by Houthi forces struck the hospital on 28 September, damaging its solar panels, water tanks and pipes.

Several of the doctors told Amnesty International that the security vacuum created in Ta’iz is exposing them to greater risks from anti-Houthi forces, who are trying to exert control at the hospitals.