NGOs condemn coalition's detention of Mwatana founders

YPP joins 17 other organizations in calling on the Saudi- and UAE-led coalition to immediately release human rights defenders Radhya Almutawakel and Abdulrasheed Alfaqih

The undersigned human rights and civil liberties organizations urge the Saudi and UAE-led coalition to immediately and unconditionally release Radhya Almutawakel and Abdulrasheed Alfaqih, two prominent Yemeni human rights defenders with Mwatana Organization for Human Rights who were detained in Yemen today.  

June 13-18: Hudaydah offensive displaces thousands, Griffiths seeks a last-minute deal

6/14

Civilians are fleeing Hudaydah as the Saudi-led bombardment intensifies near the airport, which lies south of the city.

President Hadi and other government officials arrived in Aden after being in exile for over a year. The trip follows Hadi’s recent visit to the UAE.

More than six months after his assassination, a video of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh recorded hours before his death has been released. In the video, Saleh gives his last speech, criticizing the Houthis and blaming Yemen’s crisis on them.  Saleh calls on all Yemenis to revolt and join the fight against the Houthis. The speech was broadcast to coincide with the start of the Hudaydah ground offensive, part of which is being led by Saleh’s nephew, Tariq.

6/16

Civilians continue to evacuate the districts surrounding Hudaydah’s airport as coalition forces move through the area.

The UN special envoy for Yemen arrived in San’a for crisis talks on Hudaydah.  Houthi officials deny the government’s claim that coalition forces have captured the airport.

6/18

The Houthis have responded to Saudi airstrikes by launching drone attacks in western Yemen.

UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash called for an unconditional withdrawal by the Houthis from Hudaydah, potentially undercutting the UN special envoy’s latest efforts in the capital.

June 5-13: Coalition launches Hudaydah assault despite warnings of humanitarian disaster

6/5

Regardless of months of warnings from humanitarian agencies, the UN, and foreign governments, Yemeni forces backed by the UAE are advancing toward the port and city of al-Hudaydah.  

UN Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths held talks with the Houthis to cede Hudaydah Port to the UN. However, the Houthis launched another ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia after his departure, suggesting that things may have gone very poorly.

Griffiths' brief statement upon leaving San'a was optimistic, but had no details.

A UAE-backed Yemeni offensive commanded in part by Tareq Saleh has secured the main coastal road to Hudaydah, advancing roughly 30 miles within less than four days.

YPP Endorses Open Letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres

The Yemen Peace Project is proud to endorse a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres requesting greater scrutiny on the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s violations of the rights of children in armed conflict. The YPP was one of 24 organizations to ask that Secretary-General Guterres recognise the insufficiency of coalition measures to protect children, and to place the coalition within Section A of Annex 1 of the forthcoming 2018 Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict. This move would explicitly identify the coalition as a party that has not taken measures to protect children.

The Magical Thinking Behind An Attack On Hudaydah

YPP Director of Policy & Advocacy Eric Eikenberry has an op-ed on LobeLog today about the many flaws with the coalition's plan to capture Hudaydah, and with the arguments put forth by the coalition's apologists in Washington.

Over the last several days, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have independently reported that the Trump administration is softening on a potential United Arab Emirates-led assault on Hudaydah, Yemen’s largest port and a major logistics hub for the international response to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. International humanitarian NGOsUN agencies, and even the US government have repeatedly stated that an attack on Hudaydah could seriously deepen the crisis, precipitating a long-warned-of famine, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, and leading to unconscionable human casualties from direct fighting in and around the city.

May 31-June 4: US weighs support for Hudaydah attack

5/31

Facing a manpower shortage, Houthi militias are reportedly forcing government employees to fight alongside them on the front lines.

Amid several defeats in Sa’dah and Hudaydah, the Houthis have reportedly turned to Oman to help put forward an urgent initiative to reach a political solution to the conflict.

The Yemen Data Project released statistics on civilian casualties resulting from Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in April 2018, finding that the targeting of civilian vehicles intensified while overall air raids decreased by 12% from the monthly average.

On a visit to Marib, the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen announced reconstruction and development projects that include a regional airport. Previous Saudi promises, such as commitments to improve the ports of Aden and Mukalla, have not been honored.

May 21-30: Coalition continues toward Hudaydah as UN officials express concern

5/21

Oxfam’s Scott Paul was featured on an episode of UN Dispatch podcast, explaining the impact of the Saudi-led coalition’s restrictions on shipping on people in southern Yemen.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a statement on the situation in Yemen expressing concern about escalating hostilities in the Tihamah coastal region.

An Update On Our 2018 Arwa Fellows

An Update On Our 2018 Arwa Fellows

Back in December we selected three extraordinary women for our inaugural cohort of the Arwa Fellowship. These women are on their final stretch in completing their degrees and are preparing to become civil society leaders. Here’s a look at what two of our fellows, Haifa and Reem, are doing in hopes of someday bettering their communities:

May 15-20: Intense Fighting in al-Hudaydah; UN Envoy Works Toward Peace Negotiations

5/15

UK Aid just completed the first phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in five districts around Aden. The upcoming rainy season increases the risk of cholera, but these vaccines are expected to protect 455,000 people.

A US airstrike reportedly killed three alleged al-Qaeda agents in the southern province of Shabwa.

Mundy analyzes the structural damages of Yemen's agricultural sector

At the end of April, Professor Martha Mundy, an LSE anthropologist with over 40 years’ experience in Yemeni affairs, published “The war on Yemen and its agricultural sector,” a paper on the historical development of the agricultural sector in Yemen and how it stands currently in the midst of the war. It is widely accepted that Yemen is facing the worst humanitarian and food security crisis in the world, but Mundy argues that this food security crisis “is not solely the result of the war,” but also of the crippling of the agricultural sector since 1970.

May 8-14: Tensions rise in Soqotra; Coalition launches Hudaydah Offensive

5/8

Turki al-Maliki, Spokesperson for the Saudi-led Coalition, gave a lengthy press briefing claiming that the strike on the Yemeni Presidential Palace was aimed at taking out prominent Houthi leaders Mahdi al-Mashat and Mohammed al-Houthi. Okaz believes both of these men to be dead alongside sixty-six other Houthis. Local sources reported mainly civilian casualties from the strike.

May 1-7: Yemen-UAE tensions build over Soqotra, controversy in US over role of Green Berets

5/1

Pro-government sources say that the Yemeni National Army has regained control of all official government buildings in the city of Ta’iz, including military and financial offices. According to the Middle East Monitor, these buildings were previously controlled by Salafist groups led by Abu al-Abbas.

UAE Foreign Minister Dr. Anwar Gargash met with UN special envoy Martin Griffiths. During the meeting, they discussed political developments in Yemen and ongoing efforts to reach a peaceful resolution to the crisis in accord with legitimate international referents, according to the UAE state press.

The US Department of State issued a statement confirming its continued support to the Central Bank of Yemen and applauded the efforts by the bank’s management to improve their technical capacity.

April 16-30: Yemeni-American immigration woes, fighting in Ta'iz, Aden detention center hunger strike

4/16

The Prime Minister of Yemen, Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, claimed his return to Aden will bring stability to the city because government forces will use all of their capabilities to combat threats to security. High-level government officials have been largely absent from the city that officially serves as their provisional capital.

Trump defunds aid and diplomacy in 2019 budget

The Trump Administration's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request would boost defense spending to $686 billion, a seven percent increase, while slashing funding to the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to $39.3 billion, a twenty-four percent decrease. When examining these changes at face value, it is easy to see where the priorities of the Trump Administration lie; these budgets cuts further emphasize defense and military action in lieu of diplomacy, while directing another blow toward the already struggling State Department. Despite the proposed severity of the cuts to the State Department, this move by Trump should come as a shock to no one, as he has consistently prioritized defense initiatives and belittled diplomatic efforts. 

Criminal Complaint Filed in Italy over Italian Arms Sale to the Coalition

In Italy, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), the Yemen-based Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, and the Italian-based Rete Italiana per Il Disarmo jointly filed a criminal complaint in a public prosecutor's office. The complaint names both an Italian arms manufacturer and the Italian government agency that approves arms exports. The organizations want to prove that Italian weapons were used in an illegal airstrike in Yemen and investigate Italy’s criminal liability for the attack.

Senate hearing and CRS report show two sides to congressional engagement on Yemen

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) held a hearing this morning on US policy in Yemen, the first such hearing in over a year. To help prepare committee members for today’s hearing, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) produced a special report on the situation in Yemen, authored by the CRS’ long-time Yemen specialist, Jeremy Sharp. The report begins with a sober overview of the war in Yemen and a measured assessment of Iran’s limited role as the Houthis’ main foreign supporter, which is a welcome contrast from the rhetoric both the Trump administration and the Saudi-led coalition employ concerning Iran’s involvement. However, Sharp’s analysis, while couched in the voice of objective expertise for which the CRS is known, has several shortcomings that, perhaps unintentionally, obscure the nature of Yemen’s crisis and the context of increasing congressional dissatisfaction over US participation in the conflict.

April 9-15: Intense fighting in Hajjah, New Analysis of Iran's Objectives in Yemen

4/9

Last week, the Houthis killed dozens of Sudanese troops in an ambush, which provoked intense fighting between the coalition and the rebel group. The coalition now claims it is close to driving the Houthis completely out of Midi, a district in Hajjah. The Coalition made this same claim in 2016.