Yemen to Give Civil Servants Raises; Protests Rage Against Economy
Yemen’s government says it is giving civil servants and pensioners pay raises, after protests against the country’s woeful economy nearly paralyzed a major port city Sunday.
Officials have not said when the raises would take effect or how much they will be.
Demonstrations against the economy in the port of Aden continued Monday. Many shops were closed, and some people burned tires in the streets.
Some of the marchers demanded to be paid in dollars, accusing senior officials of taking their salaries in the U.S.-based currency while paying the rank-and-file in the increasingly weak Yemeni rial.
The rial has lost more than half its value against the dollar since Iranian-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital of Sanaa in 2014, sending the Western-recognized government into exile in Saudi Arabia.
It has since returned to set up shop in Aden.
Meanwhile, the Houthis are demanding a war crimes investigation against the Saudi-led coalition after an airstrike last month that killed 40 children.
In an appeal Monday to the International Criminal Court, the Houthis asked the court to look into its “humanitarian conscience.”
A coalition missile struck a market in a Yemeni town near the Saudi border last month, killing 51 people. Among the dead were 40 children on a school bus coming back from a summer camp outing.
The coalition called the airstrike a “mistake.” It promised to hold those behind the attack legally responsible and to compensate the victims.
But the Houithis accuse the Saudis of being both the “judge and the jury” and “making light” of the civilian deaths.
U.N. human rights officials have said they believe both sides in Yemen may be responsible for war crimes.
The Saudi-led airstrikes have compounded the misery in Yemen, which is not only one of the world’s poorest nations, but is also on the edge of famine.
The U.N. has said about 80 percent of Yemeni civilians lack enough food and medical care.
The coalition airstrikes have obliterated entire neighborhoods, including hospitals and schools.