Yemen: further violations of human rights in a brutal conflict

On 25 March 2019, Amnesty International published an article about the war in Yemen and the devastating effects on civilians.

On the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of the war, Amnesty International stated that all the parties involved in the conflict continue to impose inconceivable suffering to the civilian population.

Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director, explained that Yemenis citizens can no longer support the catastrophic humanitarian effects of the conflict.

Even today, this conflict is causing gross violations of human rights, including war crimes across the country. On August 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published a press briefing notes on Yemen civilian casualties which stated that more than 17,640 people have been killed and injured and a man-made humanitarian crisis provocked approximately 14 million people suffering from food insecurity.

Since March 2015, the Saudi Arabian coalition led by the United Arab Emirates has been bombing Yemen. Amnesty International has catalogued the crimes perpetrated by all warring parties under international law. It includes Yemeni government forces, the Coalition and allied forces, as well as Huthis and allied forces. Indeed, United Nations Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) published a report on Yemen, which concluded that all parties to the conflict may be guilty of war crimes because most of them acted with profound disregard for civilian lives in the past four years.

Samah Hadid asserted that the Yemenites can no longer bear the humanitarian impact of the war on their lives. In his view, the international community must make greater efforts to protect the civilian population by removing obstacles to humanitarian assistance and restrictions on the importation of basic necessities. According to him, the international community must also put an end to impunity for war crimes and all other violations. Therefore, the European Parliament resolution of 4 October 2018 on the situation in Yemen calls upon all the parties to the conflict to allow for immediate and full humanitarian access to the conflict-affected areas in order to assist the population in need. In addition, the European Parliament condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing violence in Yemen and all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure.

In addition, Amnesty International has documented a range of human rights violations committed by all parties to the conflict over the past four years, including “indiscriminate attacks, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, sexual assault, and the imposition of restrictions on the entry and movement of essential goods and aid.” In this context, the European Parliament reminded that all parties in the conflict are accountable under international law for any crimes committed during the war in Yemen.

Some Western states, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, continue to supply arms to the Saudi and the United Arab Emirates-led coalition, despite overwhelming evidence that these weapons are being used against civilians and to commit war crimes. By consequence, the European Parliament resolution of 14 November 2018 on arms export  highlights that exports to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other members of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen are non-compliant with the implementation of the European Union Common Position on arms export position because of those countries’ involvement in grave breaches of humanitarian law as established by competent UN authorities. Finally, there are only a few countries that have suspended arms sales, including the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland.

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) shares concern for the continuous violations of human rights and the ongoing conflict. We condemn the weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition. Our hope is that the Stockholm Agreement could bring about significant progress towards the achievement of peace.

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