March Quarterly Donor Update
Yemen experienced a rapid escalation in violence throughout December while January was a record-breaking month for civilian casualties, with a Saudi-led air strike on a detention facility leading to the worst civilian casualty incident in three years. It is no coincidence that this escalation comes after the UN’s official investigative mechanism for monitoring the conflict was disbanded due to Saudi Arabia’s push at the Human Rights Council.
To address the fall-out of this accountability crisis, Crisis Action has worked with partners to shine a global spotlight on the key individuals committing atrocities and spoiling the peace process and campaign for a new and better accountability mechanism.
Spotlighting the Spoilers of Peace of Yemen
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) among nine officials named the Top Spoilers of Peace in Yemen.
With partners struggling to bring their agendas of accountability and justice to the forefront of the deliberations on Yemen, Crisis Action, in partnership with the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, launched the Spoilers of Peace campaign to deter further atrocities, end the cycle of impunity and ensure accountability for crimes committed against the people of Yemen.
As part of this work, Crisis Action:
- Convened a high-level panel of four judges – three of them female: Alice Mogwe, President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH); Hadil Al-Mowafak, Research Fellow at the Yemen Policy Center; Huda Al-Sarari, Yemen Human Rights Defender and Reed Brody, International Human Rights Lawyer.
- Coordinated over 100 nominations from civil society partners across the 10 different categories, with some partners ‘going public’ with their nominations.
- Hosted a virtual Awards Ceremony live streamed on Facebook (and available on YouTube and the campaign website) to ensure public participation, where the judges announced the winning spoilers and the egregious acts that put them at the top of the lists of crimes committed. Among those participating were civil society activists from across Yemen and the wider MENA region, the US, UK and France, as well as a few key Yemeni journalists.
- Secured widespread coverage, especially in Yemen and across the Arab region, including on Daraj Media, and also in western media including La Croix in France and Sky News, who contacted Crisis Action directly to praise the campaign. ‘We are always interested in telling stories in a visually different and engaging way…’ and said they’d like to explore a future collaboration to expose further the continued atrocities happening in Yemen.
- Mobilised public in the US, UK, Europe, Africa and the MENA region via social media using the #SpoilersofPeace and #Shaming_the_shameless hashtags reaching about 1.5million people in total.
While the campaign received significant media coverage in the Middle East and Arab world, there was limited coverage in western media which would have been critical to turning a global spotlight not only on Yemen but also on the specific individuals including UK Prime Minister and Saudi Prince’s role in perpetuating the conflict and the suffering of Yemenis.
Catalysing a global campaign for a new accountability mechanism
Accountability is vital to peace. It is a common maxim, well known in legal and peacebuilding circles, but the most recent round of attacks on Yemeni civilians underscores the need to make this case more explicit to increase pressure to end the cycle of impunity. To accompany the public and media mobilisation spurred by the Spoilers of Peace campaign, Crisis Action supported and convened human rights partners to develop a strategy for establishing a new accountability mechanism at the UN General Assembly (UNGA). As a critical first step, Crisis Action has been working with partners to engage states willing to sponsor and champion this mechanism. Promising conversations are underway with the US, Netherlands and Germany.