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Yemen

    November 17, 2017

    The USA, UK and France must immediately cease supplying arms to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen, which is impeding humanitarian assistance, including items indispensable to the survival of civilians, said Amnesty International today. According to the UN and humanitarian agencies food and medicine are being blocked and vital supplies will run out in a matter of weeks.

    Since the Saudi Arabia-led coalition tightened the blockade after a missile was fired at Riyadh, 29 ships carrying essential supplies have been prevented by the coalition from reaching Hodeidah port. Mitigating measures announced by the coalition, such as opening Aden’s port, are woefully inadequate to meet humanitarian needs. More than 20 million people are now living in dire need of assistance.

    “The looming prospect of famine is becoming a reality because of the new restrictions by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which appear to amount to collective punishment of Yemen’s civilians,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    October 06, 2017

    The international community has caved in to political pressure again, underplaying the suffering of hundreds of Yemeni children, by watering down criticism of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s grave violations of international law in the UN Secretary General’s annual Children and armed conflict report (CAAC), said Amnesty International.

    “Every time the United Nations makes concessions that allow perpetrators of crimes under international law to evade criticism or justice, it emboldens others to commit violations that cause immense misery to people around the world,” said Sherine Tadros, Head of UN office in New York for Amnesty International.

    “While we welcome the overdue listing of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the CAAC report, it is a shame that the UN caved in to pressure and included it in a new category specifically designed to limit condemnation of the coalition.”

    As a result of diplomatic pressure from Saudi Arabia, the report - which covers the year 2016 - contains a new category that acknowledges the efforts of the coalition to “put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children”.

    September 29, 2017

    A resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council today, mandating a group of international experts to investigate abuses by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, is a momentous breakthrough that will pave the way for justice for countless victims of human rights abuses and grave violations of international law, including war crimes, said Amnesty International.

    The resolution was passed today by consensus, after intensive negotiations. It is the result of years of campaigning and lobbying by Yemeni human rights organizations as well as Amnesty International and other international organizations.

    “This resolution is a victory for Yemenis whose suffering at the hands of all parties to the conflict in Yemen has been overlooked by the international community. The resolution offers hope for those seeking justice and can serve as a stepping stone towards accountability,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research.

    September 21, 2017

    The bomb that destroyed a residential building in Yemen's capital last month, killing 16 civilians and injuring 17 more - including five-year-old Buthaina whose photograph went viral in the aftermath of the strike - was made in the USA, Amnesty International reveals today.

    Amnesty International’s arms expert analysed remnants of the weapon found it bore clear markings that matched US-made components commonly used in laser-guided air-dropped bombs.

    The 25 August air strike hit a cluster of houses in Sana’a, severely damaging three of them, and killing seven children including all five of Buthaina’s brothers and sisters. Eight other children were injured, amongst them was two-year-old Sam Bassim al-Hamdani, who lost both his parents.

    “We can now conclusively say that the bomb that killed Buthaina’s parents and siblings, and other civilians, was made in the USA,” said Lynn Maalouf, Research director for the Middle East at Amnesty International.

    August 25, 2017

    An air strike which hit Faj Attan, a residential area of Yemen’s capital Sana’a in the early hours of this morning, destroying three homes, killing ten people and injuring seven more, shows that after more than two years of devastating conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is as brazen as ever in its disregard for international humanitarian law, Amnesty International said today.

    “Last night the Saudi Arabia-led coalition rained down bombs on civilians while they slept, killing five children and leaving three others seriously injured. Locals say that a four-year-old girl was the sole survivor in her family, after the air strike killed the other seven members. Many people were trapped beneath the rubble of their homes until the early hours of this morning”, said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

    August 18, 2017

    Yemen’s Huthi-Saleh forces must immediately and unconditionally release a leading political activist who has been arbitrarily detained in the capital Sana’a since 14 August without access to a lawyer or his family, Amnesty International has said.

    Hisham al-Omeisy, 38, was arbitrarily detained at approximately 2.45pm on 14 August in Jawlat al-Misbahi, south Sana’a, when approximately 15 armed security officers from the National Security Bureau (NSB) took him away. Four days after his arrest, the NSB are still holding him incommunicado in an undisclosed location.

    “Hisham al-Omeisy has been detained without charge or a court appearance in breach of Yemen’s constitution, which requires anybody arrested to be presented in court within 24 hours,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle-East.

    “This detention illustrates the lengths to which local Huthi-Saleh authorities’ are willing to go to silence peaceful activists. Hisham al-Omeisy is a prisoner of conscience, whose only ‘crime’ is peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and he must be released immediately.”

    April 25, 2017
    Reports Saudi Arabia-led coalition is gearing up for major military offensive Key port city of Hodeidah is a major entry point for humanitarian aid UN donor conference under way in Geneva

    Fears are growing for the safety of civilians in the strategic western port city of Hodeidah amid reports that a major offensive by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is due to get under way soon, said Amnesty International as UN states meet at a donor conference in Geneva on 25 April.

    As well as putting civilian lives at grave risk, an assault on the country’s fourth most populated city that seriously disrupts the functioning of the port risks cutting off a crucial lifeline to a country that is 80% dependent on imports exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.

    March 24, 2017

    Two years into the war in Yemen, civilians continue to pay the heaviest price. As of February 2017, over 4,667 civilians have been killed, 8,180 have been injured and at least 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes. All sides to the conflict have failed to take the precautions necessary to spare civilians and civilian objects. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has bombed schools, hospitals, markets and mosques, and has used internationally banned cluster munitions. Pro and anti-Huthi forces have used imprecise weapons in heavily populated civilian areas and have launched attacks from near homes, schools and hospitals.

    Over the course of five field missions to Yemen between May 2015 and November 2016, Amnesty International has documented violations by all parties to the conflict. Below is a series of photos, taken mostly during these missions, capturing the stories of civilians bearing the brunt of the country’s forgotten crisis.

     

    March 23, 2017

    The USA and UK are fuelling serious violations that have caused devastating civilian suffering through multibillion-dollar arms transfers to Saudi Arabia that vastly overshadow their humanitarian efforts, said Amnesty International.

    Since the conflict began two years ago in March 2015, the US and UK have together transferred more than US$5 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia which is leading the military coalition in Yemen. This is more than 10 times the estimated US$450 million that the US State Department and the UK’s Department for International Development have spent or budgeted to spend in aid to Yemen over the past two years.

    “Two years of conflict have forced three million people to flee their homes, shattered the lives of thousands of civilians and left Yemen facing a humanitarian disaster with more than 18 million in desperate need of assistance. Yet despite the millions of dollars’ worth of international assistance allocated to the country, many states have contributed to the suffering of the Yemeni people by continuing to supply billions of dollars’ worth of arms,” said Lynn Maalouf Deputy Director for

    March 09, 2017

    By Rawya Rageh, Senior Crisis Response Advisor at Amnesty International. Follow Rawya on Twitter @RawyaRageh.

    It was an excruciating choice that no family should ever have to make.

    Should they stay together with their two young daughters and miss perhaps their only chance to escape the horrors of war, or should they make a break for freedom but leave their year-old baby behind in a foreign land half-way around the world?

    This was the devil’s dilemma facing US-Yemeni dual national Baraa Ahmed (not his real name) and his wife, who were separated from their breastfeeding baby in the wake of President Trump’s discriminatory travel ban.

    “I would have never left my daughter behind in Malaysia and flown back [to the States] if it weren’t for the decision by the President. Nothing would have made me leave my daughter behind … But [Trump’s executive order] really compelled us to do what we did,” Baraa Ahmed told Amnesty International.

    What brought them to entrust their baby’s care to friends in Malaysia, a country 15,000 km away where they have no close ties?

    March 09, 2017

    Amnesty International has corroborated new evidence the Saudi Arabia-led coalition recently fired Brazilian-manufactured rockets containing banned cluster munitions striking three residential areas and surrounding farmland in the middle of Sa’da city, injuring two civilians and causing material damage.

    The attack, which took place at 10.30pm on 15 February 2017, is the third confirmed use of Brazilian-manufactured cluster munitions documented by Amnesty International in the last 16 months.

    “The Saudi Arabia-led coalition absurdly justifies its use of cluster munitions by claiming it is in line with international law, despite concrete evidence of the human cost to civilians caught up in the conflict,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research at the Beirut regional office.

    February 28, 2017

    New evidence has emerged of how the Huthi armed group is actively recruiting boys as young as 15 to fight as child soldiers on the front lines of the conflict in Yemen, said Amnesty International today after speaking to the families of three boys targeted this month by the appalling practice which violates international law. The families also confirmed the recruitment of a fourth local boy.

    Family members and an eyewitness told Amnesty International that the four boys, aged between 15 and 17, were recruited by fighters of the Huthi armed group, also known as Ansarullah locally, in the capital, Sana’a. They only found out that their children had been taken away after being alerted by local residents, who described seeing them and as many as six other children boarding a bus at a local Huthi centre in mid-February.

    “It is appalling that Huthi forces are taking children away from their parents and their homes, stripping them of their childhood to put them in the line of fire where they could die,” said Samah Hadid, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.

    February 03, 2017

    In a landmark judicial review case on 7, 8 and 10 February, the UK High Court will determine the legality of the UK government’s arms transfers to Saudi Arabia amid the current armed conflict in Yemen.

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Rights Watch (UK) and Oxfam will make submissions to the Court, in a legal challenge brought by Campaign against Arms Trade (CAAT).

    “The UK government’s repeated refusal to halt arms transfers beggars belief, given the extensive and credible reporting showing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s ongoing serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including possible war crimes,” said James Lynch, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    “It is a sad state of affairs that NGOs have to go to court in an effort to force the UK government to do the right thing for the people of Yemen. 

    December 19, 2016

    Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

    “The Government is almost giving the impression that this information is a bolt from the blue – when the reality is that Amnesty and others have been reporting on Saudi Arabia’s use of UK cluster munitions in Yemen for months.

    “Back in May we revealed how the Saudi coalition had been using British-made cluster bombs in their attacks near Yemeni villages and farms in the north of the country.

    “Over the years, the UK has sold billions and billions of pounds’ worth of weapons – including cluster bombs – to Saudi Arabia, and it’s hardly a surprise they’re turning up in bombed-out villages in Yemen.

    “Thousands of Yemeni civilians have already been killed and injured by the Saudi coalition’s reckless and indiscriminate bombing of homes, hospitals, schools and factories.

    November 23, 2016

    Anti-Huthi forces in Yemen’s southern city of Ta’iz are leading a campaign of harassment and intimidation against hospital staff and are endangering civilians by stationing fighters and military positions near medical facilities, said Amnesty International today.

    During a visit to Ta’iz earlier this month, the organization’s researchers interviewed 15 doctors, and other hospital staff, who described how members of anti-Huthi armed forces regularly harassed, detained or even threatened to kill them over the past six months.

    “There is compelling evidence to suggest that anti-Huthi forces have waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against medical professionals in Ta’iz. By positioning fighters and military positions near medical facilities they have compromised the safety of hospitals and flouted their obligation to protect civilians under international law,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

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