Protection Cluster in Yemen – April 2016

Originally published


The report is produced by Yemen Protection Cluster in collaboration with humanitarian partners and incorporates figures taken from the 8th Report of the Task Force of Population Movement (5 April 2016).

Situation Overview

The conflict in Yemen has exacted a dreadful toll on civilians who urgently require assistance to protect their lives and fundamental rights. One year after the eruption of the conflict in March 2015, 21.2 million people, 82% of the population in Yemen, are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance. With continued volatility and insecurity in many parts of Yemen, civilians are increasingly facing challenges to survival and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

The 8th report of the Task Force of Population Movement published on 5 April 2016 estimates that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yemen is 2.7 million – this constitutes 10% of the population and is six-fold of the number of IDPs at the same time last year. Some 66% of IDPs have sought refuge in Taizz, Amran, Hajjah, Sana’a and Abyan governorates. Displacement strains on scarce resources, driving needs for food, water and other basics, particularly shelter, healthcare, education and essential household items. Also, assessments conducted by the Protection Cluster partners indicate multiple challenges faced by IDPs, which include lack of safety and security, family separation, limited freedom of movement, harassment, lack of access to services, early marriages and pregnancies, child recruitment, gender-based violence and lost documentation. In addition, IDPs often have little information about the situation in their areas of origin or their area of internal displacement, including how to access protection and humanitarian assistance.

Civilians in Yemen are facing a wide range of problems and three key causes are identified:

Lack of Safety due to Armed Conflict

The ongoing conflict has resulted in a lack of safety for most of the population in Yemen. Since the eruption of the conflict in March 2015 to the end of February 2016, casualty figures mount to over 6,400 dead and 30,000 injured. More than 600 health facilities and 1,100 school buildings are damaged or no longer functional. There are numerous reports of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, including direct and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian residential areas. This has taken a severe toll on civilians in particular children.

Airstrikes, ground fighting and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) are all major causes of harm to civilians.
Limited Access to Basic Services The current conflict has put serious restrictions on service infrastructure in Yemen, including health, education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. Restrictions on freedom of movement have not only negatively affected the livelihoods of people in Yemen, but have also hampered the ability to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need. The situation is aggregated by scarcity of critical supplies as a result of reduced imports, such as fuel, food and medicines. Women, older persons, minorities, persons with disabilities, as well as others with specific needs have been particularly affected with the loss of male family members, family separation and the breakdown of community support network structures. Consequently, many affected persons have no option but to resort to adverse coping mechanisms, such as child labour, early marriages, incur debts, or sell assets and, hence, become heavily indebted.

Weakened Rule of Law and State Protection Lack of central or consistent authority has weakened the rule of law in Yemen. Even community-based dispute resolution mechanisms have been negatively affected by the current conflict and people often do not know how to obtain assistance for a number of issues such as forced eviction, harassment, physical or other abuse, gender-based violence (GBV) or other human rights violations.