Yemen government forces kill over 50 in Taez: UN

31st May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Government forces killed more than 50 people since Sunday in crushing a sit-in demonstration in Yemen's Taez, the UN human rights office said Tuesday.

"The UN human rights office has received reports... that more than 50 people have been killed since Sunday in Taez by Yemeni army, Republican Guards and other government-affiliated elements who forcibly destroyed the protest camp in Horriya Square using water cannons, bulldozers and live ammunition," said the office in a statement.

"Reports indicate that hundreds more have been injured," it said.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay condemned the attacks and urged all sides to stop using force.

"Such reprehensible acts of violence and indiscriminate attacks on unarmed civilians by armed security officers must stop immediately," said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

"Further violence will only yield more insecurity and move the country further away from a resolution to this political crisis.

"I urge all parties to continue efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to this conflict. The bloodshed must stop," added Pillay.

At least 100 people are also believed to have been arrested over the weekend, while dozens others are unaccounted for.

The four-month-old sit-in in Taez, Yemen's second largest city south of Sanaa, was the longest-running protest against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power since 1978.

During the crackdown, troops backed by tanks also stormed a field hospital and detained 37 of the wounded receiving treatment there.

"Adequate humanitarian access must be provided to all who need it -- the government is obliged to ensure this," said Pillay.

"Medical staff and facilities must never be targeted by security forces," she added.

The UN rights chief also urged authorities to probe cases of disappearances, and claims of torture and killings, noting that there have been no updates on the March 18 reported killing of 52 protestors in front of the University of Sanaa.

© 2011 AFP

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