September 12 - 18: Houthis and coalition kill children in illegal attacks

Human Rights Watch said that recent coalition airstrikes that killed children in Yemen likely constitute war crimes. The human rights organizations specifically cites four air strikes that struck civilian homes and one that destroyed a grocery store.

Human Rights Watch also urged Congress to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and help curb the proliferation of war crimes in Yemen.

Members of Congress urge independent investigation into human rights violations

WASHINGTON, DC--On September 12, fourteen members of Congress sent an official letter to Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley urging her to call “for an independent, international investigation into the allegations of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Yemen,” after more than two years of abuses by all sides in Yemen’s civil war that have continued with impunity. The Yemen Peace Project applauds this effort, which echoes a letter the YPP and 66 other NGOs previously delivered to members of the UN Human Rights Council.

September 5-12: UN Urges Independent Inquiry

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In a meeting with the Saudi foreign minister, UK Prime Minister Theresa May emphasized the importance of ending the Yemen conflict and complying with international humanitarian law. Activists have called the UK government complicit in the Saudi-led coalition’s alleged crimes in Yemen.

UNOHCHR: Parties to the Conflict Commit Human Rights Abuses with Impunity in Yemen

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report on the situation of human rights in Yemen. The report enumerates the violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen since September 2014, when the Houthi-Saleh coup against the legitimate government began. Civilians face indiscriminate and targeted military attacks, arbitrary and illegal arrest and detention, restricted access to humanitarian aid, and a devastating blockade that smothers the economy. Furthermore, violators throughout Yemen are committing such offenses with total impunity.

UN Human Rights Council must establish an impartial commission of inquiry for Yemen

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNCHR) has the legal authority and supporting precedents to establish an independent international commission of investigation (“CoI”) in respect of the conflict in Yemen. Its failure to do so is completely inconsistent with well-established UN practice.

The 1991 UN General Assembly (UNGA) “Declaration on Fact-finding by the United Nations in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security” makes clear that “[f]act-finding should be comprehensive, objective, impartial and timely.” The Declaration also recommends “using the United Nations fact-finding capabilities at an early stage in order to contribute to the prevention of disputes and situations.”

August 28-September 5: Floods Increase Rate of Cholera; NGOs Urge Independent International Inquiry in Yemen

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Saudi Arabia campaigned at the United Nations in an attempt to emphasize its humanitarian role in Yemen, stating that the country has donated over $8 billion to assist Yemen. Saudi Arabia is concerned about the UN child rights blacklist and a possible UN human rights inquiry into crimes in Yemen.

Inside Houthis’ illegal prison: fragile bodies and skeletons

The Abductees’ Mothers Association in Yemen recently released a statement revealing an extralegal detention facility run by Houthi militias within the central prison in Hudaydah province. The Hunaysh detention facility has reportedly been used to illegally hold 70 female abductees without rights or access to counsel since January 2017.

Houthis and Saleh clash in San'a

Violent confrontations between the Houthis and pro-Saleh forces started on Saturday after the two sides exchanged accusations of treachery in televised speeches last week. Abd al-Malik al-Houthi said that former president Saleh had to bear the consequences of calling Ansar Allah a “militia,” and that the Houthis considered the GPC party’s call for a mass demonstration in the capital an internal threat. Meanwhile, pro-Saleh media accused the Houthis of blocking the arrival of supporters to the rally by establishing security barriers and checkpoints in Raymah and Hudaydah provinces.

The UN Human Rights Council Must Establish an Independent Inquiry into Human Rights Abuses in Yemen

The Yemen Peace Project (YPP) and 56 other NGOs delivered a letter today to the members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling on the Council to create an independent, international inquiry into human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict in Yemen. Yemen is currently facing the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 17 million Yemenis facing food insecurity, thousands of Yemenis killed by violence, and over three million displaced by conflict. All sides to the conflict exacerbate the humanitarian crisis by indiscriminately targeting civilians and vital civilian infrastructure, blocking the distribution of humanitarian aid, and committing other human rights abuses such as recruiting child soldiers and arbitrarily detaining journalists and members of civil society. The UNHRC must establish an independent, international inquiry into these abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in order to establish accountability and deliver justice to the victims of the conflict.

International Center for Religion and Diplomacy : A Case for Non-Military Counterterrorism Efforts in Yemen

The International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (IRCD) recently published two reports relating to the development and implementation of non-military counter terrorism strategies. The first report details the impact of ICRD’s project to train Yemeni activists; The second focuses on the role of religion and community in the context of Yemen’s civil war.

Public attitudes in Yemen: living conditions and the security situation

From 23 February through 30 March 2017, the Yemen Polling Center (YPC) conducted a study to understand Yemeni citizens’ perceptions toward the economic and political situation in Yemen amid the growing security chaos. The center received responses from 4,000 individuals from all Yemeni governorates except Sa’dah and Soqotra, and women represented 50% of the respondents. Twenty-nine percent of respondents reported completing at least secondary school, and over 6 percent reported having a college degree. The majority of respondents (75.6%) were between the age of 18 to 45.

UNSC discusses Yemen's humanitarian crisis

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien addressed the United Nations Security Council on Friday to appeal for relief funding for Yemen. “The Yemeni people’s suffering has relentlessly intensified,” he said, noting that 7 million Yemenis were on the brink of famine and that 16 million lacked access to water

State Department: Yemen Faces Obstacles to Religious Freedom

The State Department released its 2016 International Religious Freedom report which details the status of religious freedom in every country. In its section on Yemen, the report describes the laws that place Islam as the state religion and basis of legislation, the harassment and difficulties that religious minorities face, and the violence perpetrated by both Sunni and Zaydi Shi’a militants against those considered apostates.

The UK Must Change its Policy Approach to Saudi Arabia

James Firebrace, a retired British diplomat, and Sherine El-Taraboulsi, of the Overseas Development Institute, wrote an op-ed outlining recommendations for the UK government regarding its engagement with Saudi Arabia. The UK has the potential to exert influence over peace processes in the Middle East, but its current support of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen undermines its moral standing and dedication to humanitarian principles. In order to maintain credibility as a mediator, Firebrace and El-Taraboulsi recommend that the UK reduce its unconditional military support for Saudi Arabia, pressure Saudi Arabia to allow humanitarian imports, and call for more accountability in human rights violations.

August 14-21: Reports that war has intensified; leaked memo acknowledges that coalition targeted civilians

Monday, August 14

Yemeni Central Bank Governor Mansr al-Qaiti accused the Saudi-led coalition of disrupting the flow of cash into Yemen. According to a report by The Independent, al-Qaiti said the coalition was “strangling” the Yemeni economy by preventing the government of Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi from paying the salaries of a million civil servants. He mentioned 13 instances of the coalition blocking flights from transporting cash via Aden.

Sana'a Center: US Military Policy Destabilizes Yemen

According to a report by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, US military assistance and counterterrorism policies in Yemen have destabilized the country and produced effects counter to US interests. US military aid to the Yemeni government, under both President Saleh and President Hadi, has allowed the presidents to undemocratically consolidate power through appointing family members and allies to military positions. It has also contributed to the current war in Yemen; the Houthi-Saleh alliance use weapons that the US gave to Yemen previously, and counterterrorism military aid to the government is often used to maintain the government’s fight against the Houthis. Meanwhile, counterterrorism efforts against AQAP are undermined by the continuing chaos of the war and by the government’s prioritization of the fight against the Houthis which, at times, leads to cooperation between the government and AQAP.

August 7-14: Conversation over San'a Airport continues; further clashes between AQAP and pro-Hadi forces

Monday, August 7

The State Department released a report on terrorism in Yemen, which argued that the ongoing civil war benefits al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Read more here.

Science News published an article describing the work of Rowa Mohammed Assayaghi, a medical microbiologist at San’a University, in combating the spread of cholera in Yemen.

Lawfare Questions the Effectiveness of America's Drone Program

Jacqueline Hazelton published a report in Lawfare magazine examining the merits of America's use of armed drones through the lens of the American grand strategy of restraint. The study is comprehensive, however it must be noted that due to the secrecy surrounding drone programs and the varying contexts in which drone strikes are carried out, it is difficult to empirically attribute public discontent and radicalization to drone strikes. While this is a limitation of study it is also Hazelton’s chief criticism of the US’ drone program. She argues that: