On Tuesday night, President Trump vetoed Senate Joint Resolution 7, a groundbreaking piece of legislation passed by bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress calling for an end to US military support for the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. The justification Trump provides for this veto has extremely dangerous implications that Congress must urgently address.
WASHINGTON--This afternoon, 56 US senators voted in favor of Senate Joint Resolution 54, formally titled “A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” The Yemen Peace Project--along with a broad coalition of advocacy organizations and NGOs--has been working to generate support for this measure for more than a year, and we applaud the bipartisan majority that passed the resolution for taking courageous and unprecedented action to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention into Yemen’s civil war.
This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 201 - 187 to pass H.R. 1142, a rule appended to H.R. 6784, the “Manage Our Wolves Act”. H.R. 1142 stripped H.Con.Res. 138, a war powers resolution to end US military support to the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war, of its privilege, preventing a vote on its underlying substance.
The Yemen Peace Project welcomes the statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the United States will end in-flight refueling of Saudi planes conducting aerial missions in Yemen. The statement marks a first, though insufficient, step toward ending US complicity in the Saudi-led coalition’s numerous war crimes in Yemen.
Washington — The YPP and eleven other organizations, along with seven prominent legal experts, delivered a letter to the acting US attorney general this week urging the Department of Justice to investigate the actions of American mercenaries operating in Yemen. According to an investigation published last month by BuzzFeed, American and foreign employees of a US-based military contractor planned and carried out assassinations of civilians in Aden, on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. These acts, as described by the perpetrators themselves, constitute serious crimes under US law.
The letter was also delivered to the attorneys general of the state of Delaware, where the military contractor in question is incorporated, and New Jersey, where the conspirators claim to have planned some of their attacks. Copies were sent also to the Department of Justice’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section.
We join the other signatories in demanding a full and transparent investigation, and we hope to see those responsible for these crimes prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The full text of the letter is below.
Paris, 7 November 2018 – As humanitarian, human rights and peacebuilding organizations working on Yemen, we welcome tomorrow’s unprecedented coming together of legislators from across nations and parties for the first International Parliamentary Conference for Peace in Yemen to demand their governments work together to end the crisis. With 14 million men, women and children on the brink of famine – half the country’s population – there has never been a more urgent time to act.
Washington, DC -- Today, a bipartisan group of representatives led by Ro Khanna (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced a House Concurrent Resolution, invoking the War Powers Resolution of 1973, to direct the president to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress. The Yemen Peace Project endorses this resolution and urges representatives to cosponsor and vote for the measure.
Washington, DC -- Last night, congressional leadership released the conference report of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019, which includes two amendments that will bring greater oversight and accountability to the activities of the United States and Saudi-led coalition allies intervening in Yemen’s civil war. As a pacifist organization, the Yemen Peace Project does not endorse the NDAA; however, we welcome the inclusion of Section 1274 and Section 1290 in the final legislation and, once signed into law, we strongly encourage members of Congress to take advantage of their provisions in order to increase transparency concerning US engagement in the conflict and pressure coalition allies to adhere to international law and the United Nations-led peace process.
Today the US Supreme Court, in a five-to-four decision, upheld President Trump’s executive order preventing individuals from Yemen and several other countries from entering the US. Lower courts previously found that this policy was inspired by anti-Muslim bias. Trump has made numerous public statements making clear his xenophobic and Islamophobic feelings, and his desire to prevent foreign Muslims from entering the US. The Supreme Court’s majority did not dispute these facts today; rather, they found that the latest version of Trump’s “Muslim Ban” sufficiently camouflaged this hatred under the guise of national security. After listing many of the President’s anti-Muslim statements in their opinion today, the Justices then describe the bureaucratic steps the administration took to make its discriminatory policy more palatable, and ultimately conclude that the text of the executive order is “facially neutral.” In other words, the five Republican Justices found that although the President of the United States is a bigot, his lawyers did not include any openly bigoted language in their third revision of an order expressly designed to keep Muslim immigrants out of this country.
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.
WASHINGTON - In response to today’s Senate vote on the joint resolution to direct the president to withdraw US armed forces from participating in the Saudi-led coalition’s hostilities in Yemen, the Yemen Peace Project’s director of policy and advocacy, Eric Eikenberry, issued the following statement:
S.J.Res.54 invokes Congress’ Article I authority to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war. This document counters superficial arguments some have made to oppose the resolution, demonstrates the larger implications S.J.Res.54 can have for future Congressional oversight over war-making, and explains how the resolution can play a positive role in pushing for an end to the coalition’s the intervention in Yemen.
Washington, DC -- On Wednesday, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a joint resolution to force a congressional debate and vote on the United States’ involvement in Yemen’s civil war. The War Powers Resolution of 1973, passed in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, gives Congress the authority to end any military action ordered by the president without congressional authorization. This resolution directs the president to remove US personnel participating in Yemen’s hostilities within 30 days. The Yemen Peace Project urges all members of the Senate to vote in favor of the joint resolution.
The Yemen Peace Project is proud endorse an open letter calling on the leaders of the United States, United Kingdom, and France to take immediate action to end the war in Yemen. This letter--signed by 400 prominent individuals including NGO heads, celebrities, government officials, and scholars--makes it clear that “Yemen can’t wait” another day for the world to come to its aid.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of the Yemen Arab Republic and then the Republic of Yemen from 1978 to 2011, was apparently killed by Houthi forces today in San’a. His death has been confirmed by members of his General People’s Congress (GPC). It follows five days of heavy fighting in San’a between forces loyal to Saleh and the Houthi militias, clashes that have killed over 100 civilians. The Yemen Peace Project calls on all sides to cease hostilities and encourages internal and international parties to renew their commitment to a negotiated end to the civil war instead of responding to the weekend’s events with further military escalation.
On November 14, the House passed the conference bill of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. The finalized bill includes two provisions led by Congressman Ted Lieu that provide much-needed congressional oversight over the US’ role in Yemen, seeking to limit US participation in the war. The YPP applauds the passage of these provisions and thanks Representative Lieu for his tireless efforts to rein in US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war.
On November 1, the House leadership removed the "privileged" status of H.Con.Res.81, the Khanna-Massie-Pocan-Jones resolution invoking the War Powers Resolution to end unauthorized U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. That privileged status, as mandated by the War Powers Resolution, would have guaranteed H.Con.Res.81 a floor vote. It is now expected that this resolution will not get a vote on the House floor this month.
Today the Yemen Peace Project (YPP), along with 64 other organizations, sent a letter to the United States House of Representatives to express their support for House Concurrent Resolution 81. The Resolution directs the President of the United States to end US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. Currently, the United States provides logistical, technical, and advisory military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen without authorization from Congress. The coalition has perpetrated war crimes, targeted civilians repeatedly using US-sold weapons, and created the conditions necessary for Yemen to become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Ending the United States military role in the conflict is essential to ending the notion that the coalition can win this war in the battlefield and push for peace.
Washington, DC— On Wednesday, Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced House Concurrent Resolution 81 to force a congressional debate and vote on America’s military involvement in Yemen’s civil war. US law requires the president to consult with Congress before introducing US forces into a conflict, and gives Congress the authority to end any military action that has been ordered by the president. HCR 81 directs the president “to remove United States Armed forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen.” The Yemen Peace Project applauds the efforts of Reps. Khanna, Massie, Pocan, and Jones, and urges all members of the House to vote in favor of HCR 81.
On September 24, President Trump signed a new proclamation placing restrictions on immigration and travel to the United States for nationals of certain countries. This is the White House’s third attempt to ban travel to the US based on national origin alone. Like the previous travel bans, this one is justified by the administration on national security grounds. But experts and officials within Trump’s own government have previously found that such restrictions do not have any positive impact on security. Rather than a legitimate security measure, this proclamation is a politically-motivated gesture intended to satisfy xenophobic, Islamophobic, and racist elements within the US. Unlike the previous “Muslim Ban” orders, this document adds two states that are not predominantly Muslim to the list of effective countries. Nevertheless, as US federal courts have confirmed based on the president’s own statements, these orders are all attempts to realize Trump’s campaign promise to ban foreign Muslims from entering the US. The Yemen Peace Project condemns this discriminatory decree, and calls on the courts and Congress to overturn these restrictions, as US law demands.
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.
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.”
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.
WASHINGTON, DC - Last week, the US House of Representatives passed three amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would provide much-needed transparency into the performance of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and potentially end US participation in the civil war. The coalition, to which the US has provided arms, refueling, and targeting assistance without congressional authorization, has created a humanitarian disaster in Yemen. The Yemen Peace Project (YPP) applauds the House’s decision and calls on the Senate to also adopt these three provisions.
The Yemen Peace Project (YPP) calls on Members of Congress to support a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amendment that prohibits unconditionally refueling the Saudi-led coalition’s warplanes in northern and western Yemen. The coalition uses these planes to conduct airstrikes targeting civilians and critical infrastructure in Yemen, violating international humanitarian law (IHL) and perpetuating a conflict with no possible military solution. The Saudi-led coalition’s attacks have killed thousands of civilians and left millions in need of humanitarian aid, food assistance, and medical help. The United States cannot continue to aid and abet the coalition’s violations of IHL by refuel coalition warplanes unconditionally. Through this amendment, Congress can provide oversight of and introduce transparency into the process of refueling coalition missions.
Reports by the Associated Press (AP) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have revealed a network of extralegal prisons run by the United Arab Emirates and UAE-backed forces in southern Yemen. These prisons reportedly house people suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State. Both the AP and HRW have found evidence of widespread abuse by security forces, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, and widespread torture. Disturbingly, there are indications that US military personnel have been aware of--and possibly involved in--the torture and abuse of Yemeni prisoners. Former prisoners and Yemeni soldiers told the AP that US forces had been present in prisons while inmates were being tortured, and US officials told the AP that US forces provide questions to and receive interrogation transcripts from UAE and Yemeni authorities at these prisons. The YPP condemns the illegal and inhuman behavior described in these reports, and calls on the US Congress to investigate the involvement of US personnel in these abuses.
On Monday, 19 June 2017, the Yemen Peace Project, along with 10 other humanitarian and human rights organizations, released a joint statement commending the UN Security Council presidential statement on Yemen. The statement urges the UNSC to turn their words into action to end Yemen's suffering and find an immediate political solution to the conflict.
In response to today's Senate vote on the resolution to block the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, the Yemen Peace Project's director of policy and advocacy, Kate Kizer, issued the following statement: