UN demands investigation into Saudi airstrike on Yemeni wedding

Published October 9th, 2015 - 10:00 GMT

A senior aid official with the United Nations (UN) has called for a swift investigation into a recent Saudi airstrike on the location of a wedding ceremony in Yemen’s southwestern Dhamar region.

Stephen O’Brien, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, demanded an impartial probe into the deadly aerial raid in a strongly-worded statement on Thursday.

“I call for a swift, transparent and impartial investigation into this incident,” the statement read, adding, “With modern weapons technology, there is little excuse for error.”

The UN official said he was “deeply disturbed” by the news that dozens of civilians, among them many women and children, had been killed in the Wednesday evening bombing.

Saudi fighter jets targeted the location of the wedding ceremony on Wednesday in Dhamar, situated about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, killing at least 51 civilians there.

It was the second air raid to target wedding parties in Yemen recently.

In late September, at least 135 civilians lost their lives and many more sustained injuries after Saudi warplanes hit the location of a wedding celebration in the port city of Mokha, located in Yemen’s southwestern province of Taiz.

The UN official also stressed that all sides involved in the conflict have a responsibility under international law to avoid damage to residential areas and civilian structures.

“Real accountability for parties to conflict, whether they are states or non-state groups, is urgently needed, to ensure that the commitment under international law to protect civilians is meaningful,” he said.

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