NGO: Houthis damage, confiscate 546 houses in Hajja

NGO: Houthis damage, confiscate 546 houses in Hajja

Alsahwa Net- A local non-governmental organization (NGO) said on Wednesday that the organization verified 546 houses that were damaged or confiscated in Hajja governorate, northwest Yemen, alone by the Houthi-affiliated militants since they began expansion throughout the country in in late 2014.

Um Al-Ezz, chairwoman of the Victims of Damaged Houses Organization, voiced this number of destructed houses during opening ceremony of the organization’s establishment in Marib, east Yemen, on Wednesday.

The Shiite Houthi-rebels have been destroying and seizing houses of their opponents since they toppled the government in late September 2014.

Um Al-Ezz explained that establishment of the organization came in response to victims’ suffering who ended up homeless and were forced into displacement.

“It is intended to uncover extent of crimes taken against citizen activists, how they lost their properties and psychological damages inflicted on them,” said Um Al-Ezz.

She added that her organization also seeks compensation to victims and pursuing offenders to bring them to local and international prosecution.

The Houthi-militants often detonate residences of their dissidents. They even set mosques, children Quran schools and state buildings on detonation and chant “death to America”.

Parts of the damage that were inflicted on civilians’ houses were due to the use of explosive ordnance by the Houthis-affiliated militants in populated areas or airstrikes of the Saudi-led coalition, according to the UN Security Council Panel of Experts’ report that was published in February of this year.

The report indicated that the Houthi-affiliated militants use of explosive ordnance, mortar shells and airstrikes by the coalition continue to excessively impact civilians and civilian infrastructure. However, the report shed no light on damaged houses that were intentionally detonated by the Houthis gunmen or confiscated from original freeholders to influential Houthis officials.

Now, Um Al-Ezz and her team at the new organization has a mission to document this loss of civilian properties that are considered crimes against humanity, according to Um Al-Ezz.

She asked victims of damaged houses to document destruction or confiscation of their residences to enable the organization demands fair compensation.

For his part, Ali Al-Tam, chairman of Himaya [protection] Organization said that  the aim of this solidarity with victims of damaged houses is to demand their rights back and punish perpetrators to sustain peace later.

“We send a message to perpetrators that they will go unpunishable when we go silent,” said Al-Tam.

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