An international rights group has decried the use of land mines by Yemen's Shiite rebels, saying they have maimed hundreds of civilians and prevented many of the displaced from returning to their homes.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch says in a new report released on Thursday that the rebels known as Houthis, who are allied with the forces of the country's former president, have used land-mines in at least six provinces since March 2015, when a Saudi-led coalition launched its military campaign against them.

Steve Goose, director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch, says the Houthis and forces of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh "have been flouting the land mine ban at the expense of Yemeni civilians."

He added that Yemen had banned land mines two decades ago.