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Yemen

    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.

    September 19, 2016

    Released 07:00GMT/ 08:00 London time Monday 19 September 2016
     

    States – including the USA and UK – must immediately stop supplying weapons that could be used in the Yemen conflict, Amnesty International said, as it confirmed that a US-made bomb was used in the air strike on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital on 15 August which killed 11 people and injured 19 others.

    According to independent weapons experts consulted by the organization who assessed photographs of a bomb fin taken by a journalist at the site, a US-made precision-guided Paveway-series aerial bomb was used in the attack.

    “Any attack on a medical facility in a war zone is an affront to humanity, yet this bombing is sadly just the latest in a grim series of attacks on hospitals and clinics by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 13, 2016

    As the latest session of the Human Rights Council Session opens today Amnesty International is calling on states not to support anything short of an independent, investigation into the conflict in Yemen. Last year states failed to support such a move, instead adopting a watered-down resolution spearheaded by Saudi Arabia supporting the newly established national commission as the mechanism to investigate violations. So far this commission’s working methods suggest it will struggle to either establish truth or facilitate justice.

    August 29, 2016

    By Rasha Mohamed and Rasha Abdul Rahim

    The airstrike on Abs Rural Hospital in Yemen's Hajjah governorate on 15 August was the fourth attack on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in 10 months. That didn't lessen the shock.

    Sixteen-year-old ambulance driver Ayman Issa Bakri was among the 10 dead. He had been working there since MSF began supporting the hospital in the summer of 2015. When his body was found near the impact site, he was still holding the woman he had been transferring from the ambulance to the A&E.

    Shortly after, MSF announced it was winding up its operations in Yemen; it is hard to imagine the despair that Yemenis feel when the only hospital for miles disappears.

    At the site of the ruined hospital, Amnesty International identified remnants of bombs that appear to have been manufactured either in the USA or the UK. This would be consistent with what we know about prolific arms exports by these countries to Saudi Arabia and other members of its military coalition.

    August 17, 2016

    The Huthi armed group in control of parts of Yemen must immediately ensure the release of all 27 members of the Bahá’í religion who have been detained in the capital, Sana’a, for a week without charge, in a blatant case of persecution of a minority faith, Amnesty International said today.

    Armed officers in balaclavas from Yemen’s National Security Bureau (NSB) intelligence agency, which works hand in hand with the armed Huthi authorities, stormed a Bahá’í youth workshop in Sana’a on 10 August and arrested 65 people, including 14 women and six people under 18 without an arrest warrant. Further arrests were carried out yesterday.

    “The arbitrary arrests of Bahá’í people for doing nothing more than attending a peaceful community event is completely unjustifiable. It is just the latest example of authorities’ persecution of minority faiths,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    August 15, 2016

    The Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s aerial bombardment of a hospital supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Yemen is an atrocious attack that could amount to a war crime, Amnesty International said today.  The Abs Rural Hospital which was hit at around 3:30pm local time, has treated 4,611 patients since MSF began to support it in July 2015.

    “The bombardment of this hospital is a deplorable act that has cost civilian lives, including medical staff who are dedicated to helping sick and injured people under some of the most challenging conditions. Deliberately targeting medical facilities is a serious violation of international humanitarian law which would amount to a war crime. The circumstances of this attack must be thoroughly and independently investigated,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “Today’s air strike appears to be the latest in a string of unlawful attacks targeting hospitals highlighting an alarming pattern of disregard for civilian life.”

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    July 26, 2016

    Restrictions on the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to civilians in Yemen are exacerbating the country’s humanitarian crisis and endangering lives, said Amnesty International calling on all parties to the conflict to allow full and unfettered access to organizations providing crucial supplies.

    A delegation from the organization visited Huthi-controlled parts of Yemen in May 2016 and spoke to 11 local and international humanitarian aid organizations who described unlawful restrictions on aid by both Huthi and Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces. The organization is urging that the removal of impediments to aid delivery is given top priority at the peace talks currently underway in Kuwait before they conclude this week. 

    “Unlawful impediments to aid in Yemen are causing dreadful suffering, and depriving people of their basic needs in the midst of an active conflict. It is absolutely imperative that negotiators prioritize this issue and take steps to guarantee aid is getting to those who need it most and that aid workers and their operations are not targeted or harassed,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    June 06, 2016

    In May 2016, Amnesty International researchers investigated the remains of a partially detonated UK-manufactured BL-755 cluster munition in a demining centre in northern Yemen. Questions have been raised over whether the cluster munition could have been used during a former Yemen conflict. The following evidence explains the circumstances and condition in which the cluster munition was found, underpinning Amnesty International’s conclusion that this cluster munition was used during the current (2015-16) Yemen conflict by a member of the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition.

    The UK-manufactured cluster munition could not have been used in a previous conflict as previous conflicts did not target the area involved.

    Amnesty International has documented the use of six types of cluster bombs by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen since March 2015. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has also documented the use of cluster munitions in Yemen since the start of the conflict in March 2015.

    May 23, 2016
      16 new civilian casualties, including nine children, documented in aftermath of Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s cluster bomb use   Internally displaced people returning home to de facto ‘minefields’   Use of US, UK and Brazilian-made cluster munitions documented   Urgent need for international demining assistance

    Children and their families returning home in northern Yemen after a year of conflict are at grave risk of serious injury and death from thousands of unexploded cluster bomb submunitions, Amnesty International said, following a 10-day research trip to Sa’da, Hajjah, and Sana’a governorates.

     International assistance is urgently needed to clear contaminated areas and countries with influence should urge the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces to stop using cluster munitions, which are internationally banned and inherently indiscriminate.

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