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FILE PHOTO: People run for cover as smoke rises after a car bomb attack at an army checkpoint by the town of Hajr, west of Mokalla, Yemen, 18 July 2016

27 journalists killed in Yemen since 2014

Sat, June 09, 2018 18:33

MAARIB, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) - A total of 27 journalists have been killed since the outbreak of Yemen’s civil war in 2014, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, an NGO, said on Saturday.

“The press freedom [in Yemen] is going through very difficult conditions and has been subject to a systematic war since 2014," the syndicate said in a statement marking the Yemeni Press Day.

According to the statement, a total of 27 journalists “have lost their lives for the sake of fulfilling the right of the society to obtain information”.

The syndicate said media outlets in Yemen have been looted, journalists and photographers chased and hundreds of news portals blocked.

It called for the release of 12 journalists held by Houthi rebels and another journalist taken hostage by al-Qaeda terrorists.

“They are living in poor conditions and are subject to brutal torture,” the statement said, going on to call for piling pressure on warring rivals in Yemen to “create an appropriate and safe environment for journalists and respect the right to obtain information”.

Yemen has been wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including capital Sana'a.

The violence has devastated the country’s basic infrastructure, including water and sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe the situation as “one of the worst humanitarian disasters of modern times”.

In response to a decision by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to pull 71 staff out of Yemen due to ongoing insecurity, threats and blocks to their work, Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said:

“It is an unquestionably bleak moment when humanitarian workers, who are in Yemen to save lives, are themselves forced to flee in fear for their own lives. Yemeni civilians caught up in war and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises have just lost a precious lifeline.

“The ICRC has served victims of armed conflict and violence in Yemen for more than five decades, but its activities have been repeatedly ‘blocked, threatened and directly targeted.’ This is a violation of international humanitarian law. In fact, deliberate attacks on humanitarian relief personnel amount to war crimes.

“If the conflict has proven too dangerous for humanitarian personnel, it is certainly too dangerous for civilians in need of urgent protection. We repeat the call we’ve made countless times in the past three years of Yemen’s conflict: all sides must respect and protect humanitarian personnel and facilities, and take every precaution to protect civilians caught up in the conflict.”

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