The Woes of Arabia Felix: The State of Human Rights in Yemen 2017
Yemen: All Parties to the Conflict Have Brought Tragedy to Civilians in the “Arabia Felix”
Mwatana launches its annual report on human rights violations in 2017
Sana’a- (May 15, 2018)
On the occasion of the publication of its Annual Report “Woes of the Arabia Felix,” Mwatana for Human Rights stated today that all parties to the conflict in Yemen have committed serious violations to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the International Human Rights Law (IHRL) in 2017. Yemeni civilians experienced the woes of war in various areas and were subject to violations by all the parties to the conflict that have left painful individual stories and a tragic mass disaster.
The report focuses on the most prominent patterns of human rights violations documented by Mwatana during the year 2017. The violations include starvation as a weapon of war; denial of humanitarian access; air attacks; indiscriminate ground attacks; use of mines; enforced disappearance; arbitrary detention; torture; violations against the Baha’i minority; violations against the press and journalists; recruitment and use of children; attacks on hospitals and medical centers; attacking and using schools; drone attacks; and US ground operations.
“The behaviors and practices of the parties have been characterized by barbarity and recklessness in a country used to be known as the ‘Arabia Felix.’ These behaviors have caused the misery of millions of civilians who have been beset by woes from every side” said Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights.
Mwatana’s Annual Report “Woes of Arabia Felix” is divided into two main parts. Part One explains the status of Yemen under the International Humanitarian Law and international mechanisms, and highlights the most important developments in the discussions of the Human Rights Council and the Security Council with regard to Yemen. Part Two, which contains 14 chapters, focuses on the most prominent human rights violations committed by all parties in Yemen.
In preparing this report, Mwatana for Human Rights relied on field investigative research in 18 Yemeni governorates. Also, Mwatana conducted more than 1,637 interviews in Arabic in 2017 with victims, victims’ relatives, eyewitnesses, and medical and humanitarian personnel. The field research team conducted interviews and research, and the information was collected, reviewed and verified by the Research Unit Team, which in turn visited several Yemeni governorates in various missions. This report was also reviewed by a specialist in international law for legal analysis.
Furthermore, the report documents the events in some neighborhoods in Sana’a in addition to human rights abuses during the armed clashes that took place in December 2017 between the forces of Ansar al-Allah (the Houthis) and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In its “Woes of Arabia Felix,” Mwatana for Human Rights provided recommendations to the parties to the conflict, the international community and the actors in Yemen demanding that they respect human rights, immediately cease violations of IHRL and IHL, strengthen accountability mechanisms, and reduce the policy of impunity.
“All parties to the conflict in Yemen and the parties and states supporting them must immediately stop their horrific violations,” Al-Mutawakel said, “Yemen appears to be a crime scene where the perpetrators go unchecked, but all parties must know that their violations will not be subject to statute of limitations. They should not count on the policy of impunity” she added.