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Yemen

    March 24, 2019

    All warring parties in Yemen continue to inflict unimaginable suffering on the civilian population, Amnesty International said today on the fourth anniversary of the devastating conflict.

    Since the Saudi and UAE-led coalition’s bombardment of Yemen began in March 2015, Amnesty International has documented a horrific catalogue of crimes under international law perpetrated by all, including Yemeni government forces, the Coalition and allied forces, as well as by the Huthis and allied forces.

    “After four years of bloodshed in the Arab world’s poorest country, Yemenis can no longer bear the catastrophic humanitarian impact of the war. The international community must step up efforts to ensure that civilians are protected, obstacles to humanitarian assistance and arbitrary restrictions on import of essential goods are lifted, and impunity for war crimes and other violations is ended,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director.

    March 10, 2019

    Warning: This media release contains graphic testimonies from child survivors of sexual abuse. 

    An investigation by Amnesty International has revealed that children as young as eight years old have been raped in the Yemeni city of Ta’iz. The suspected perpetrators, including members of militias backed by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, are yet to be held to account.

    The families of four boys told Amnesty International that their sons had been sexually assaulted in a series of incidents over the past eight months. In two of the cases, families alleged that those responsible were Islahi-aligned militiamen supported by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition. 

    “The heartbreaking testimonies of these young survivors and their families expose how the ongoing conflict has rendered children vulnerable to being sexually exploited in a city plagued by weak security and institutions. These victims and their families have been left unprotected and alone to face the horrific ordeal of sexual abuse and its aftermath,” said Heba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.  

    February 05, 2019

    An open source investigation published by Amnesty International today highlights a growing danger in Yemen’s conflict as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recklessly arms militias with a range of advanced weaponry.

    The investigation, “When arms go astray: Yemen’s deadly new threat of arms diversion to militias,” shows how the UAE has become a major conduit for armoured vehicles, mortar systems, rifles, pistols, and machine guns – which are being illicitly diverted to unaccountable militias accused of war crimes and other serious violations.

    “While the USA, the UK, France and other European states have rightly been criticized for supplying arms to Coalition forces, and Iran has been implicated in sending arms to the Huthis, a deadly new threat is emerging. Yemen is quickly becoming a safe haven for UAE-backed militias that are largely unaccountable,” said Patrick Wilcken, Arms Control and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.

    December 13, 2018

    Responding to news that the warring parties in Yemen have agreed to a ceasefire for the port city of Hodeidah, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research said:

    “Today’s announcement of a ceasefire agreement in Hodeidah brings hope to millions of civilians who are heavily dependent on the port for access to essential goods and humanitarian aid.

    “The conflict has had a devastating impact in terms of interrupting vital supplies in and around Hodeidah. Both parties to the conflict have deliberately impeded humanitarian assistance in violation of international humanitarian law. They must now provide prompt and unhindered access to UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to deliver food, fuel, medicines and medical supplies to civilians in desperate need across Yemen.

    “We call on the international community to strengthen the UN’s efforts to end gross violations of international law committed by all parties to the conflict and ensure justice and reparation for victims.”

    Background

    November 16, 2018

    Petrified civilians in Hodeidah face a likely onslaught unless the UN Security Council acts today to press the warring parties in Yemen to protect them and ensure full humanitarian access, Amnesty International said.  

    The Security Council will discuss Yemen’s conflict and humanitarian crisis at 15:00 EST (20:00GMT).

    “Even with the lull in fighting in recent days, Hodeidah remains on a knife-edge, and the ominous fear of mortal danger looms large. Hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped near frontlines must be protected amid the fighting and granted safe passage out of the city,” said Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York.

    “Bombs and bullets have killed thousands of civilians across Yemen, while the crushing descent into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis has placed many millions of already food-insecure people at imminent risk of famine. The Security Council must demand that all sides protect civilians by respecting international humanitarian law. They must ensure the unimpeded flow of aid and essential goods, including via Hodeidah port.

    November 12, 2018
    Area around main public hospital al-Thawra comes under sustained attack Medical worker describes hundreds of staff and patients fleeing in terror

    Hundreds of medical workers and patients, including a malnourished woman carrying her daughter in a surgical robe and a man still hooked up to a catheter, fled in terror as a series of large explosions rocked a hospital in central Hodeidah yesterday, according to an eyewitness who spoke to Amnesty International.

    Just before noon on 11 November, an attack reportedly carried out by the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition hit very close to al-Thawra hospital – Hodeidah’s largest public medical facility.

    November 07, 2018
    Huthi gunmen take up positions on a hospital roof Ongoing Saudi Arabia and UAE-led Coalition air strikes kill scores of civilians Both sides risk committing war crimes unless they prioritize civilian protection 

    Civilians in Yemen’s western port city of Hodeidah will pay a terrible price amid the battle engulfing their city unless warring parties act immediately to protect them from the fighting, Amnesty International warned today.  

    In an extremely worrying development, Huthi fighters arrived at a hospital in Hodeidah and recently took up positions atop a hospital roof, placing numerous civilians inside the building in grave danger.  

    September 28, 2018

    Responding to the United Nations Human Rights Council vote to renew the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), which has been investigating violations and abuses of international law committed by all sides in Yemen, Amnesty International’s Senior Advocate Kevin Whelan said:

    “Today’s vote sends a clear signal to all perpetrators of crimes under international law in Yemen that impunity is not an option. All parties to the conflict – including the Saudi and UAE-led coalition, the Yemeni government and the Huthi de facto authorities – must fully cooperate with the UN investigation team and help facilitate their work.

    “This renewal also sends a timely message of support to the Yemeni civilian population, today reeling perhaps more than ever before from the impact of these violations even as they brace themselves for new rounds of violence.”

    Background

    September 18, 2018

    Responding to news that 24 Yemenis from the Baha’i faith - including eight women and a child – are facing charges that could result in death sentences by the Huthi-controlled Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, said:

    “Once again, we are seeing trumped up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings used to persecute Yemeni Baha’is for their faith. And it is particularly abhorrent that some of these men and women could face the death penalty for their conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities.

    “The group, which includes a teenage girl, were charged with various serious offences including espionage for foreign states, some of which can carry the death penalty. The Huthi authorities should drop these bogus charges, release those who are arbitrarily detained and end their abuse of the justice system to punish freedom of belief and persecute political critics, journalists, activists, Baha’is and other minorities.”

    Background

    August 28, 2018

    Responding to a scathing report published today by the United Nations Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE) which concludes that all parties to the conflict may be guilty of war crimes, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, said:

    “The GEE, in its first report, confirms what we have known for the past three years, namely that all parties to the conflict in Yemen have acted with utter disregard for civilian lives. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition and allied forces, Huthi and Yemeni government aligned forces have consistently carried out unlawful attacks, restricted access to humanitarian aid, carried out widespread arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, child recruitment and other serious violations that have and continue to inflict unimaginable suffering on Yemen’s civilian population.

    August 16, 2018

    Yemen’s Huthi armed group must reveal the fate and whereabouts of an activist abducted by two of its militants in apparent retaliation for his human rights work, Amnesty International said.

    Kamal al-Shawish, a field research assistant with Mwatana Organization for Human Rights in the city of Hodeidah, was seized on the street by two Huthi armed men on Tuesday. He was blindfolded and taken to an unknown location. His whereabouts remain unknown.

    The activist had documented human rights violations against civilians in Hodeidah prior to his arrest.

    “The worrying abduction of Kamal al-Shawish seems to be part of a sinister pattern of harassment and repression of human rights work in Yemen, committed by all sides to the conflict,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The Huthi armed group must reveal his fate and whereabouts and ensure he is protected from the kind of torture and ill-treatment that has been inflicted on others in its custody. Kamal al-Shawish should be released immediately.”

    June 22, 2018
    The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has continued to impose restrictions on the entry of essential goods into conflict-ravaged Yemen Huthi de facto authorities have excessively delayed the delivery of humanitarian assistance in famine-threatened areas and are said to have asked for bribes The coalition’s tightened restrictions could constitute a war crime

    Millions of lives are at risk because the entry of essential goods such as food, fuel and medical supplies into war-torn Yemen is being restricted by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and their distribution then delayed by the country’s Huthi de facto authorities, Amnesty International warned in a new report released today.

    June 14, 2018

    Responding to reports that Abdulrasheed al-Faqih, the Executive Director of Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, was arrested this morning while on his way to Sey’oun airport in the southern Yemeni city of Mukalla, Samah Hadid, Middle East Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “Abdulrasheed al- Faqih is one of Yemen’s most prominent human rights defenders and has worked tirelessly to expose the myriad human rights abuses committed by all parties in Yemen’s brutal conflict. He was arrested this morning by security forces affiliated to the internationally recognized Yemeni government while travelling to seek medical treatment, and we are now extremely concerned for his safety.

    “Unfortunately, Abdulrasheed al-Faqih’s courage and dedication have made him the target of repeated harassment, and prior to his arrest today he was detained by Huthi forces on several occasions. We fear he has been arrested - yet again - solely for his human rights work; and if this is the case he must be released immediately and unconditionally, and allowed to travel and seek the medical treatment that he needs.

    June 13, 2018

    Responding to the news that Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition have launched an offensive on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Malouf said:

    “The assault on Hodeidah could have a devastating impact for hundreds of thousands of civilians – not just in the city but throughout Yemen.

    “With an estimated 600,000 people living in and around Hodeidah, all sides to the conflict must take all feasible precautions to ensure that the civilian population is protected. 

    “Equally vital is that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Huthi forces ensure the flow of aid and essential goods isn’t impeded in any way, as millions of people remain at risk of famine across the country.

    “Hodeidah’s port is crucial to a country that is 80% dependent on imports to meet basic necessities. Cutting off this crucial supply line would further exacerbate what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

    June 08, 2018

    In response to a decision by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to pull 71 staff out of Yemen due to ongoing insecurity, threats and blocks to their work, Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said:

    “It is an unquestionably bleak moment when humanitarian workers, who are in Yemen to save lives, are themselves forced to flee in fear for their own lives. Yemeni civilians caught up in war and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises have just lost a precious lifeline.

    “The ICRC has served victims of armed conflict and violence in Yemen for more than five decades, but its activities have been repeatedly ‘blocked, threatened and directly targeted.’ This is a violation of international humanitarian law. In fact, deliberate attacks on humanitarian relief personnel amount to war crimes.

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