Aden activists call for designation of Houthis as terrorist group


[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Tuesday, the US State Department designated the Houthi militias as an entity of “special interest,” a day after it called on Yemeni Vice-President Ali Mohsen Saleh to expedite designating the group as a “terrorist organisation.”

Dozens of civil society activists in the interim Yemeni capital Aden urged Wednesday the international community to designate the Iran-backed Houthi militia a terrorist group.

The call, which came during a rally held by civil society organisations at the Corniche Square of Workers Island in the district  of Khormaksar in the Aden governorate, coincided with the International Human Rights Day that falls on Thursday.

The activists recalled alleged crimes the Houthi committed when they took control of parts of Aden in 2015.

The rally, the activists said, aims to draw the international community’s attention to the unmatched brutality of the Houthis’ actions and the continued abuses that have been committed since the militia’s coup against the Yemeni state in September 2014, leading to a war that plunged the country into a dark tunnel.

The rally’s participants emphasised the need to designate the Houthis as a terrorist group due to their alleged involvement in criminal acts, brutal practices and bloody massacres against civilians in Aden and other Yemeni governorates.

The undersecretary of the Aden governorate Nasr Al-Shazly and a number of families of victims of alleged Houthi attacks participated in the rally, chanting slogans like “So that we do not forget the Houthi crimes in Aden,” “One Voice: The Houthi (militia) is a terrorist group” and other phrases that highlighted the extent of the militia’s brutality.

After the rally, Shazly told reporters, “Civil society activists in Aden made sure to remind the world and the international community on Wednesday of the crimes and massacres committed by the Houthi group against civilians in Aden during their control of some districts.”

The rally’s participants depicted scenes and shared images of alleged criminal Houthi practices, including the destruction of homes, private possessions and public properties that used to embody the values ​​of coexistence and peacefulness in Aden.

The protesters also shared images of the militias’ destruction of archaeological, historical and tourist monuments, places of worship, infrastructure, and economic assets.

The participants pointed to a series of horrific violence carried out by the Houthis with weapons such as mortars, artillery, tanks and Katyusha rockets.

These weapons, the participants said, were used to target civilian sites in Aden, drawing local, regional and international condemnation.

On Tuesday, the US State Department designated the Houthi militias as an entity of “special interest,” a day after it called on Yemeni Vice-President Ali Mohsen Saleh to expedite designating the group as a “terrorist organisation.”

For foreign groups or organisations to be classified as terrorist entities by the US, they must meet certain criteria, including that they carry out or have the ability to carry out terrorist activities that threaten the US’s national security.

From March 26, 2015 until July 17 of the same year, the Houthis controlled the districts of Khormaksar, Sirah, Al Mualla, Al Tawahi, and Dar Saad. However, it was difficult for them to enter the districts of Sheikh Othman, Mansoura and Buraiqa.

Yemeni statistics indicate that alleged Houthi crimes in Aden have led to 2,713 people being killed, including 100 children and 190 women, as well as 17,864 injuries. There have also been tens of thousands of demolished homes, while vital installations such as the Aden Refinery Company in the city of Buraiqa and the Tawahi Port have been targeted.

Shazly called on the international community and the United Nations to “designate the Houthi militias as a terrorist group, as it practiced the most heinous crimes against humanity in Aden and the various governorates of the country.”

Shazly addressed the Houthi group, saying, “You are terrorists and you practised terrorism against our children, youth and future generations, and everyone must listen to the voices calling for you to be classified as a terrorist group.”

In addition to causing heavy casualties, the Houthis’ war on Aden has resulted in the destruction of many homes and a large number of archaeological, historical and tourist attractions, places of worship and vital installations.

For the sixth year in a row, Yemen is suffering from a war between pro-government forces and the Houthis, who are accused of receiving Iranian support.

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