Rights group says Yemen prison detainees on hunger strike
BEIRUT - Dozens of detainees at a military camp controlled by pro-government forces in southern Yemen are on hunger strike in protest against conditions at the facility, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.
The prisoners began to refuse food on October 21 at the informal detention facility at the Bir Ahmed camp, which the rights group said was controlled by UAE-backed forces in Aden where the war-torn country's government is based.
A statement signed by the detainees' family members said the men would forgo food until they are granted their "legal and humanitarian rights," according to HRW.
The United Arab Emirates, backed by the United States, has trained contingents in the Yemeni army that are stationed around Aden.
The UAE is a key member of a Saudi-led military coalition that entered Yemen's conflict in 2015 to battle on the government's side against Iran-backed Huthi rebels.
In June, Human Rights Watch accused the UAE of running at least two "informal detention facilities" in Yemen and had reportedly transferred detainees to a base in Eritrea.
The UAE at the time rejected the allegations as "totally unfounded", saying its forces "respect international conventions on armed conflicts".
More than 8,600 people have been killed since the Saudi-led coalition joined the Yemen war.
Another 2,100 people have died of cholera this year, as port and airport blockades have left hospitals struggling to secure supplies.
The United Nations warns that Yemen, long the poorest country in the Arab world, now faces famine.