Independent journalist Iona Craig covers the recent United States military raid in Yemen in a detailed report published by The Intercept. The story focuses on the tragic and horrifying impact of the January raid on the villagers who were caught in the crossfire. Craig conducted interviews with eyewitnesses, revealing the terror experienced by the families living in the village of al-Ghayil and the children who survived the attack, and the confusion and anger of the survivors over why their home was targeted and their family members killed.
The US Department of State recently released their 2016 Human Rights Country Report on the state of human rights in Yemen. According to the report, “impunity was persistent and pervasive” in Yemen, that contributed to gross human rights abuses by multiple actors throughout the year. The greatest human rights issues in Yemen were:
The American Enterprise Institute’s Katherine Zimmerman recently published a list of policy recommendations for the United States as the Trump administration reevaluates US engagement in Yemen. In this piece, Zimmerman warns the current administration against falling into the role that America played in Yemen under Presidents Obama and Bush, which amounted to “outsourcing US policy to Saudi Arabia.” Instead, she urges the Trump administration to be more independent and self-determining in future dealings with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
A new report by Amnesty International highlights the recruitment of child soldiers by Houthi forces in Yemen, and the violations of the rights of children by all parties to the conflict. The organization says that new evidence of recruiting tactics used by the Houthis has emerged, shedding light on how these young boys wind up on the front lines of Yemen’s war.
USAID released a country study for Yemen in January, summarizing the findings of research conducted in 2016 on the effects of the ongoing conflict. The study focuses on a variety of facets of the Yemeni state, society, and the relationships between the two as the civil war continues, based on interviews conducted in seven different governorates. Research findings covered Yemeni views on the social contract between government and citizens, perceptions of authority figures, the security situation, provision of basic services, social cohesion and trust between citizens, dispute management, and international and civil society organizations.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released their most recent Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Yemen last month. The document outlines the objectives OCHA hopes to achieve in the coming year, the number of people in need of assistance in Yemen, how many the organization will target for humanitarian assistance, and what resources are required to do so.
Brookings recently published a piece by Tamara Coffman Wittes, a senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy and the author of “Freedom’s Unsteady March: America’s Role in Building Arab Democracy.” In the article, she argues for the importance of improving governance systems in the Middle East as a means for peacebuilding. Noting that discussions of the region often focus on problems such as terrorism, wars, and those displaced by them, she stresses that these issues are merely the symptoms of a larger problem in many Middle Eastern countries which still needs to be addressed.
The UN Panel of Experts on Yemen released their most recent report on the state of affairs in the country on Friday, February 17. They conclude that a clear-cut military victory by either side is no longer feasible, while neither side shows interest in peace talks or a peaceful settlement. Saudi-led attacks, meanwhile, have done greater damage to civilians and civilian infrastructure than to Houthi forces or morale.
Oxfam and SaferWorld recently released a briefing paper on the role of Yemeni women in local, national and international peacebuilding efforts. The publication highlights the advances in representation that women in Yemen have fought for during the country’s ongoing civil war, the measures necessary to ensure greater and more meaningful participation by women in Yemen’s peace process, and the need to include women as active participants in peacebuilding in order to build a meaningful and lasting peace.
Following Thursday's meetings in Jeddah with Gulf leaders and the United Nations, US Secretary of State John Kerry held a press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir to call for an end to the bloodshed in Yemen and announce a new plan to restart peace talks with the goal of forming a unity government.