Yemen (2017 – present)
“Crisis Action’s in-depth knowledge, active engagement and outreach have had a positive impact on the Security Council’s work on Yemen.” - Ambassador Olof Skog, Permanent Representative of the Swedish Mission to the UN.
Yemen has been devastated by fighting since 2015, when a Saudi and Emirati-led coalition intervened militarily at the request of President Hadi, who was forced out of the country by Houthi rebels. The conflict has precipitated the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in what was already the Middle East’s poorest country.
Yemen is now ravaged by preventable diseases and teeters on the verge of a historic famine. Thousands of civilians have been killed and three quarters of the population – 22 million people – need humanitarian assistance simply to survive.
Following the resumption of attacks on civilians after a short-lived ceasefire collapsed, Crisis Action responded to partner requests to increase the pressure for a revitalised, 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:
- Galvanise an international outcry to force the Saudis to lift a blockade that was preventing vital imports of food, fuel, medicines and humanitarian aid.
- Prevent a potentially catastrophic attack by the Saudi- and Emirati-led coalition on the critical port of Hodeida by generating huge public outcry at the human cost of such a move.
- Push for the UN Security Council to demand that parties protect civilians, safeguard vital access routes and pursue a political – not military – solution.
- Convince the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution establishing a group of experts to investigate human rights violations in Yemen.
- Challenge the sale of British, American and French arms to Saudi Arabia where there is a risk they are used against civilians, by increasing Congressional, Parliamentary and media opposition and scrutiny.
In March 2017, in response to warnings from policymakers of an imminent and catastrophic attack on Yemen’s critical port of Hodeidah, Crisis Action worked with partners to galvanise an international outcry to urge the US and UK to use their influence to prevent it. Alongside joint letters, a digital campaign and joint advocacy in capitals and at the UN, we arranged the first ever briefing by a Yemeni civil society activist at the UN Security Council, and enabled Yemeni human rights defenders to meet policymakers in London, Paris and Washington DC.
Policymakers confirmed these measures helped spur a Presidential Statement (PRST) on Yemen that demanded better protection of civilians and the preservation of vital routes for humanitarian aid to reach those in need, ending a year of silence by the UN Security Council.
In September 2017, collective efforts supported by Crisis Action helped persuade the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent group of eminent experts to report on human rights violations in Yemen. The campaign included open letters from NGOs, prominent MPs and members of Congress, and a global digital campaign in English, French and Arabic under the banner #YemenInquiryNow, leading to a significant step towards accountability for violations against civilians.
December 19, 2017, marked 1000 days of war and suffering in Yemen. To prompt international action – in particular by three permanent members of the Security Council: UK, France and the USA – Crisis Action coordinated a global call by more than 430 public figures from 50+ countries including celebrities, sports stars, retired political leaders, faith leaders and Nobel Laureates demanding action. The statement gathered significant global media attention and thousands joined the #YemenCantWait digital campaign, reaching over 70 million people.
The open letter led to the strongest statements to date from Prime Minister May and Presidents Macron and Trump. The day after its release, Saudi Arabia announced that it would temporarily lift the blockade on lifesaving supplies of food and fuel, and we were told that the coalition’s campaign was a timely and effective intervention that “caught the mood of the moment” and “created a ‘think again’ moment for Riyadh”.
“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 is able to 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