Yemen (2017 – present)
“I give Crisis Action 10/10, and personally I’ve learned a lot from Crisis Action’s model. I’ve never seen an organization that can network and mobilize so effectively, and at the same time respect all its partners. Crisis Action’s professional and honest work means a lot to us. Yemen is a country which a small effort can make a serious difference. The efforts of Crisis Action champions helped us to reach our voice to the UNSC, and achieve important steps that give us all a hope that some difference can be made.” — Radhya Almutawakel, President, Mwatana Organisation for Human Rights
The conflict in Yemen escalated in 2015 after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched a military intervention in the hopes of defeating the Houthis and restoring the internationally recognized Yemeni government.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched a military intervention in Yemen with hopes of quickly defeating the Houthis armed groups and restoring the internationally recognized Yemeni government. Half a decade later the conflict continues, and has caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with 80% of the country’s population needing aid to survive. All sides of the conflict have conducted themselves in a way that violates international law – from airstrikes on civilian sites, blockades of major air and sea ports, torture and indiscriminate detention and extensive obstruction of aid delivery.
Since 2015, the conflict has caused more than 233,000 deaths; over 100,000 have been killed by fighting, while over 130,000 more have died from starvation and disease exacerbated by the conflict. Above this, Yemenis are experiencing the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded, with over 2 million suspected cases identified since 2017. The war also has had a severe impact on Yemeni children, as 140,000 of the estimated deaths are children under five, and two million children are out of school during vital developmental years.
In 2017, after a short-lived ceasefire collapsed and attacks on civilians by all parties resumed, Crisis Action responded to partner requests to organize a global campaign aimed at pressuring the warring parties to adhere to a revitalized, inclusive peace process, tangible measures to address the humanitarian crisis, and an end to attacks on civilians.
Since then, Crisis Action has brought together a global network of partners and allies to:
- Galvanize international condemnation to force the Saudis to lift a total blockade on Yemen’s air and sea ports that was preventing vital imports of food, fuel, medicines and humanitarian aid in 2017.
- Prevent a catastrophic, UAE-led attack on the critical port city of Hodeidah, which threatened the lives of 250,000 civilians, and pressure the parties to enter a ceasefire around the city in 2018.
- Convince the US Congress to pass four pieces of legislation in 2019 that would have ended missile and bomb sales to, and logistical support for, the Saudi and UAE intervention in Yemen.
- Promote a UK court of appeal ruling that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful.
- Support Yemenis advocating to the United States, United Kingdom, France, and UN Security Council and Human Rights Council member states, frequently overcoming unfair restrictions placed upon Yemenis traveling internationally.
The Crisis Action-led campaign on Yemen also has demonstrated a commitment to holding the warring parties accountable for their numerous human rights violations. In September 2017, NGO efforts supported by Crisis Action helped persuade the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent Group of Eminent Experts to report on human right violations in Yemen. In 2019, Crisis Action convened a coalition of human rights organizations to successfully push to renew and strengthen the Group of Eminent Experts’ mandate, to include investigations into violations of international humanitarian law alongside human rights law.
Crisis Action continues to organize a broader campaign to promote the peaceful settlement of the conflict through UN mediation. As the UN Special Envoy has written, Yemen’s conflict and crisis is one “the international community can resolve,” but not until all sides to the conflict pivot to comprehensive peace negotiations. Yemen can’t wait for anything less.