US and European Arms Used to Attack Yemeni Civilians

Saudi/UAE-led Coalition Strikes Kill, Wound Hundreds with Western Weapons

(Sana’a, Yemen, March 6, 2019): Yemen-based Mwatana for Human Rights, US-based University Network for Human Rights, and PAX released “Day of Judgment”: The Role of the US and Europe in Civilian Death, Destruction, and Trauma in Yemen today. The report documents the role of US and European weapons in the Saudi/UAE-led Coalition’s ongoing military campaign in Yemen.

Twenty-seven apparently unlawful Coalition attacks documented by Mwatana for Human Rights between April 2015 and April 2018 killed at least 203 civilians and injured at least 749. Twenty-two of these attacks likely involved weapons produced in the United States, two attacks likely involved weapons produced in the United Kingdom, and three attacks likely involved weapons with parts produced in both the United States and United Kingdom.

The attacks struck homes, schools, businesses, farms, a health clinic, a government administration building, and a celebration hall. At least 122 children and at least 56 women were among the dead and wounded.

“It is clear that Saudi and Emirati promises to minimize harm to civilians were empty,” said Radhya al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights. “This report demonstrates a pattern of deadly Coalition attacks involving weapons provided by western states, particularly the United States. The US, UK, and others should immediately halt arms transfers and all other forms of assistance to Coalition forces for use in Yemen.” Al-Mutawakel is set to deliver testimony to Congress today, in conjunction with the report release, regarding Mwatana’s findings on human rights abuses in Yemen.

In an April 2018 Coalition attack in Hajjah Governorate, a joyous wedding celebration quickly turned tragic when a US-made bomb exploded, killing at least 21 and injuring at least 97 drummers, dancers, and wedding guests, including nearly 60 children. In a December 2016 attack on a civilian home, also in Hajjah Governorate, a US-made cluster bomb killed at least fifteen civilians—nine of them children—and wounded at least seven. Ten-year-old Ahmad Mansour lost his mother and siblings in the cluster bomb attack, in addition to suffering extensive injuries himself.

The conflict continues to exact an unacceptable toll on Yemeni civilians, the organizations said. In 2018, Mwatana documented 128 apparently unlawful Coalition airstrikes that killed 418 civilians, including 181 children, and wounded 435, including 197 children. Mwatana also documented continued violations by the Houthi armed group in 2018, including laying landmines, shelling civilians, and arbitrarily detaining scores of people.

Despite ongoing Coalition abuses, the US continues to sell Saudi Arabia and the UAE weapons for use in Yemen, in violation of domestic and international law. The UK, too, continues arms sales in violation of its obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty and EU Common Position on military exports.

In the US, Congress appears closer than ever to taking meaningful action, the organizations noted. Many members of Congress have committed to opposing future arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. On February 13, 2019, the House of Representatives passed a historic resolution to rescind US military support for the Coalition’s ongoing campaign in Yemen. The Senate is expected to vote on a parallel resolution this month.

“The US has actively enabled unlawful Coalition attacks on Yemeni civilians for the past four years. The Senate has an opportunity to make clear that Congress is no longer willing to risk US complicity in such attacks,” said Ruhan Nagra, Executive Director of the University Network for Human Rights. “It is long past time for the Senate to take the critical step of withdrawing US support for a brutal military campaign that has devastated Yemen and helped push half its population to the brink of famine.”

Contacts:

Ruhan Nagra, University Network for Human Rights, Middletown CT (English, Punjabi, Hindi)

Tel: (314) 435-2377

E-mail: ruhan@humanrightsnetwork.org

Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Mwatana for Human Rights, Washington, D.C., (English, Arabic)

Tel: +967 774166666

E-mail: ralmutawakel@mwatana.org

Osamah Alfakih, Mwatana for Human Rights, Sana’a (English, Arabic)

Tel: +967 775546904

E-mail: oalfakih@mwatana.org

Ali Jameel, Mwatana for Human Rights, Sana’a (English, Arabic)

Tel: +967 772844655

E-mail: ajameel@mwatana.org  

Mwatana for Human Rights (mwatana.org) is an independent Yemeni organization that advocates for human rights through the documentation of violations, provision of legal support to victims, lobbying, awareness raising, and capacity building. In recognition of its courageous human rights documentation and advocacy, Mwatana received the Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty and the Hrant Dink Award in 2018. Mwatana’s work on human rights issues in Yemen has been cited in leading television, radio, print, and online sources around the world.

The University Network for Human Rights (humanrightsnetwork.org) facilitates supervised undergraduate engagement in the practice of human rights at colleges and universities in the United States and across the globe. The University Network partners with advocacy organizations and communities affected or threatened by abusive state, corporate, or private conduct to advance human rights at home and abroad; trains undergraduate students in interdisciplinary human rights protection and advocacy; and collaborates with academics and human rights practitioners in other parts of the world to foster the creation of practical, interdisciplinary programs in human rights.

PAX (paxforpeace.nl) is a Dutch peace organization that works with committed citizens and partners to protect civilians in conflict, end armed violence, and build peace. PAX operates independently of political interests.

Ruhan Nagra