On Saturday October 6, protests broke out at the University of San’a in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital, the University of Ibb, and the city of Ta’iz. Demonstrations by women in particular have also been reported in the city of Ibb, calling for an end to hunger. These protests, organized under the title “Revolution of the Hungry,” called attention to the deteriorating economic conditions in the country as well as the widespread suffering of Yemenis from starvation and malnutrition, and express anger at Houthi governance practices which have worsened the economic and food-security situation for civilians in areas under their control. Nearly two months before, there were reports that Yemeni activists had called for citizens to participate in a “Revolution of the Hungry” in San’a against the Houthis.
In May 2018, the Awam Development Foundation, in partnership with Oxfam and the Youth Leadership Development Foundation, produced a report titled The Impacts of War on the Participation of Women in Civil Society Organizations and Peacebuilding. The study explores the ways in which the war in Yemen is affecting women across various industries and regions. A study team conducted interviews in the San’a, Aden, Hudaydah and Ibb governorates, examining the life of average Yemeni women and their roles, or lack thereof, as peace builders in their communities. The evidence gathered from these interviews culminated in new recommendations intended for both national and international policymakers.
UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has left San’a without a peace deal. This was his second visit to the capital in two weeks.
The United Nations reports that 26,000 have been displaced due to fighting in Hudaydah Governorate. Fighting is centered around the airport compound and residential areas to the south of Hudaydah city. Over forty airstrikes have been reported in other areas across the country as well.
The US Supreme Court ruled that President Trump’s travel ban could be fully enforced while challenges to the ban proceed in lower courts. “The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.”
US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told reporters that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is likely to worsen following Saleh’s assassination. Mattis’ statements were vague, but signalled an increased concern among American officials for the humanitarian crisis.
The UN, after completing a delivery of 1.9 million diphtheria vaccines shortly after the Saudi-led coalition reopened Yemen’s airspace to humanitarian flights, stated that the successful delivery through the San’a airport “cannot be a one-off,” because nearly every Yemeni child is in need of further humanitarian assistance.
Saudi Arabia announced that the Saudi-led coalition would open the ports controlled by the Hadi government, including Aden, Mokha, and Mukalla. However, the coalition wouldn’t open ports such as al-Hudaydah in Houthi-controlled territory until the UN sends experts to ensure that weapons aren’t being smuggled through them. Leaders of the Houthi organization vowed to retaliate against the Saudi-led coalition over the blockade.
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.
Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, delivered a statement to the United Nations Security Council during last Tuesday’s Council meeting on Yemen. O’Brien spoke of the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, warning that the situation there had become the world’s largest food security crisis and that lack of access to food and clean water created the conditions for the cholera epidemic. While he lauded the United Nations and its partners, along with medical personnel in Yemen, for their work to stem the spread of cholera and other diseases, he criticized the parties to the conflict for putting their own interests above the needs of the Yemeni people, explaining that both lack of access to food and disease are, in the case of Yemen, man-made phenomena that could be avoided if the parties were willing to negotiate an end the conflict.
In a new publication from the International Crisis Group, the organization’s Arabian Peninsula Senior Analyst, April Longley Alley, discusses realities on the ground in Yemen’s Houthi-held capital, San’a. She focuses on the isolation of San’a from the rest of Yemen and its impact on locals; although food products are available in stores in San’a, the money to purchase them is dwindling for many families. Furthermore, the author emphasizes that the high numbers of civilian casualties that accompany Saudi attacks have turned public opinion against the Saudi-led coalition. Many feel a sense of solidarity with the Houthis as a result of both isolation from the rest of Yemen and indiscriminate coalition bombings; these combine to create an “us and them” mentality that pits San’a against Saudi Arabia, and locals feel angry toward both the Saudi-led coalition and the United States over the high number of civilian deaths.
UNESCO and ten leading museums around the world are marking Yemeni Heritage Week from April 23-30 to raise awareness about Yemen and its unique culture and history. Participating museums include New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Freer and Sackler galleries in Washington, D.C., which will exhibit their finest ancient south Arabian artifacts and works of art. This initiative aims to bring attention to Yemen’s rich cultural heritage and the danger which it is now facing due to the ongoing war and political strife. As Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova says in her forward for Yemeni Heritage Week, the conflict “is placing unique heritage at the risk of total destruction...Whenever culture is attacked, we must stand together and respond with even more culture and knowledge, to foster mutual understanding and safeguard the heritage shared by all humanity.”
This week hopes to attract well-deserved attention to Yemen's rich history and artifacts by highlighting "their unique beauty, knowledge, and wisdom."
If you have the chance, don't miss out on these wonderful exhibits. For the full list of participating museums, click here.