More than 2,700 civilians killed since start of conflict in Yemen

Updated: 2015-12-23 10:24


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More than 2,700 civilians killed since start of conflict in Yemen

A tribal fighter loyal to Yemen's government takes position as he fights against Houthi rebel fighters near al-Jadaan area, which has been taken by the pro-government army, in the country's central province of Marib December 21, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

UNITED NATIONS - More than 2,700 civilians have been killed since the start of conflict in Yemen in January, senior UN officials said Tuesday.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, said in his briefing to the UN Security Council that the UN Human Rights Office in Yemen has estimated that the conflict in the Middle East country has also left more than 5,300 people injured in addition to the heavy civilian death toll.

The office has also documented dozens of cases of alleged illegal detention, primarily at the hands of the Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis, he said.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang said that around 7.6 million people in Yemen need emergency food assistance to survive. At least two million people are malnourished, including 320,000 children who suffer from severe malnutrition.

The conflict between the factions has worsened Yemen's already poor food situation, with more than 3 million people thrusted to the ranks of the hungry in less than a year and 7.6 million people severely food insecure, a level that requires urgent, external, food aid.

Also briefing the 15-nation UN council, the UN secretary-general's special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said that the recent meetings in Switzerland between the parties provided a solid foundation for resumed talks in the future and a basis for renewed, strengthened cessation of hostilities.

At the same time, he said, the talks revealed deep divisions between the two sides and trust between the parties remains weak.

In the face of numerous violations of the cessation of hostilities in Yemen, the special envoy on Sunday decided to adjourn peace talks in Switzerland for a month to allow for bilateral in-country and regional consultations to achieve a ceasefire.

"Given the centrality of the cessation of hostilities to the success of talks, the special envoy has elected to adjourn the talks until the middle of January 2016," Ould Cheikh Ahmed said in a communique.

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