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1. #Yemen #UN Group of Eminent Experts just released second annual report.

GEE recommend states strengthen their mandate at #UN Human Rights Council this month, incl. to collect + preserve evidence of abuse and report directly to HRC.

Thread below.

2. After release of first report, #Yemen #UAE #Saudi #Egypt refused to cooperate with group.

Despite restrictions, GEE conducted >600 interviews w/ victims, witnesses and other sources, and examined a large volume of documentary and open-source material.
3. Legal context: non-international armed conflict between Houthis and GoY, with coalition as parties (tbd how UAE/Yemen battles impact in future).

Also note other non-international armed conflicts, incl between AQAP and GoY, with IHL applying to US actions against AQAP.
4. Human rights obligations still in play during conflict.

GEE highlight GoY in this regard, but Houthis "also bound by international human rights obligations."

And coalition states and non-state armed groups may have IHRL obligations where exercising control.
5. GEE highlights obligations of third states to ensure respect for IHL (🤓) -- that influence or provide support -- calling out France, Iran, UK and US.

Also ICL -- but notes most state parties aren't ICC members (except Jordan and Senegal).


Now for findings.
6. OHCHR has documented at least

-7,292 civilians killed (incl. 1,959 children + 880 women)
-11,630 civilians injured (incl. 2,575 children + 1,256 women)

... "the actual figures are probably much higher."
7. #Saudi/#UAE airstrikes:

GEE: "Despite reported reductions in the overall number of airstrikes and resulting civilian casualties, the patterns of harm caused by airstrikes remained consistent and significant."
8. Heads-up arms suppliers:

"these patterns continue... cast[ing] serious doubt about whether targeting process adopted by the coalition complie[s] with... fundamental principles of international humanitarian law."

(Looking at you #UK #US #France)
9. Heads-up coalition officials:

"Responsibility for serious violations caused by the persistent failure to correct errors in the targeting process would rest on the highest levels of command, including civilian officials."

(Looking at you #MBS and #MBZ)
10. Next: #Houthi snipers and shelling:

GEE looks at attacks from 2015 not covered before --

"Shelling and sniper fire by Houthi-Saleh fighters in populated areas in and around #Aden and #Taiz cities killed and injured hundreds of civilians"
11. Houthi indiscriminate attacks causing significant civilian harm continued into 2018:

GEE notes one such attack near a displaced persons camp. Another on civilians fleeing.
12. In other cases, GEE says Houthis may have deliberately targeted civilians:

In June 2019, in #Taiz, a sniper killed a 13-year-old boy near a water collection point.
13. "Reasonable grounds to believe Houthis responsible for serious violations of IHL."

(indiscriminate attacks resulting in the death or injury of civilians + directing attacks against civilians).

"These acts may lead to criminal responsibility for war crimes."
14. GEE also looks at indiscriminate shelling by #Yemen-i forces and forces backed by #UAE --

"reasonable grounds to believe... responsible for serious violations of IHL..."

Says continuing to investigate some attacks to determine responsibility.
15. Then, landmines:

GEE says Houthis used anti-personnel + anti-vehicle mines, with huge civilian impact; did so in violation of IHL.

"mines were emplaced in unmarked locations frequented by civilians, w/ little or no warning given, which rendered their use indiscriminate."
16. Next:

"Parties regularly used civilian objects for military activities, incl. those w/ special protection, such as hospitals and religious and cultural sites ..

further restrict[ing] extremely limited safe spaces for civilians + exacerbat[ing] dire humanitarian situation."
17. Examples:

- #UAE-backed Giants Brigades destroying 7th century mosque in Hodeida

-#Houthis destroying civilian homes in #Hajjah

-Airstrikes and shelling damaging + destroying hospitals

- Houthis + anti-Houthi groups occupying protected facilities
18. Whole section (ty🙏) on how parties exacerbating humanitarian crisis:

a. Attacks against objects indispensable:

Coalition airstrikes destroy/damage farmland, water facilities, infrastructure, medical facilities.

Houthi landmines on farmland, use hospitals.
19. b. siege-like warfare:

Coalition blockade + #Sanaa airport closure drastically limited imports, impeded delivery of relief supplies, significantly contributed to economic deterioration

Houthi siege-like warfare in #Taiz + #Hajja "significantly impeded humanitarian access"
20. c. impediments to humanitarian access:

Both GoY + Houthis "imposed bureaucratic constraints that caused significant additional delays in relief operations."

Aid diversion by Houthis has impeded delivery of humanitarian supplies.

Violence against humanitarian workers.
21. d. related human rights

Other measures taken by both GoY and Houthis "exacerbated disastrous economic situation, further infringing on the human rights of the population."

Cite non-payment of salaries, Houthi tax practices. etc.

On IHRL: Both GoY and Houthis "have failed to meet their human rights obligations, particularly regarding the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, including the right to food and water, and the rights to health and education."

On IHL and ICL (and starvation):

"The fact that the acts described above all played a role in depriving the population of objects indispensable to its survival, + have been continued, justifies deep concerns that starvation may have been used as a method of warfare."
24. Whole section on abusive detention practices

(again, ty 🙏-- Hate when ignored; grateful when not):

Houthis: Arbitrary killings, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment... men, women and boys.
25. For Houthis, "opposition" interpreted excessively broadly:

"including support to a rival political party but also posting critical statements on social media, engaging on human rights-related issues or questioning a local education policy."
26. In a context where millions already on brink:

"Relatives reported they had been required to pay money for information on the whereabouts of detainees, for promises of their release, or to see or retrieve the body of a detainee who had died in custody."
27. GEE verified 12 cases of sexual violence on five women, six men and a 17-year-old boy.

Documented torture, incommunicado detention, frequent transfers between facilities, use of secret facilities keeping detainees out of reach of families, or any legal protection.
28. Not just Houthis implicated in detention-abuse: #Yemen #UAE #Saudi, too.

-GEE looked at Aden assassinations--dozens killed between 2015 and 2019.

-#UAE + affiliated forces implicated in disappearance, torture, arbitrary detention, sexual violence.

-Despite claims otherwise, UAE controlled facilities.

-Back-up claims re transfers to Assab #Eritrea.
30. See also @hrw on the above in June 2017.

(What steps have you taken since, #US, to avoid complicity in torture from your close CT partner the #UAE in #Yemen?)

@hrw 31. Not just #UAE:

-Yemen gov't + affiliated forces also committing detention-related abuses.

-Cases of incommunicado detention, electrocutions, mock executions + forced nudity at unofficial joint #Yemen/#Saudi facility.

-#Saudi held fishermen incommunicado for years.
@hrw 32. GoY (#Yemen), #Saudi/#UAE coalition and Houthis have severely restricted right to speak freely.

Women activists (when not) continued to face gender-based persecution. Group documented 40 cases.
@hrw 33. GEE takes on conflict's impact on women (a third ty).

"Law enforcement actors generally posed a direct threat to women’s security, and the parties actively obstructed protection networks, factors that all risk entrenching inequality and gender-based violence even further."
@hrw 34. GEE documented #UAE backed Security Belt, #Yemeni armed forces and #Houthis committing sexual violence.

Often impacted already vulnerable communities, including migrants.

Pay attention to migrants.

See also:



35. Houthi hostage-taking of women and girls.

In one case, Houthis kidnapped and detained a woman to force a Houthi defector to surrender.

In others, they detained women and girls on the accusation of traveling without a male guardian.
36. And, on kids:

"Almost all cases of attacks involving civilians and indiscriminate attacks documented by the Group of Experts resulted in child casualties."
37. GEE looks at child recruitment, noting vast majority of UN documented cases by #Houthis, but coalition and #Yemen-i forces also using kids.

Discuss how attacks on schools and hospitals, and their use, will necessarily impact children.
38. [Takes food break].
39. And, finally, accountability:

GEE: "pervasive lack of accountability"

#Yemen: National commission has important role to play, but "must be structurally and functionally independent."

#Saudi/#UAE coalition: JIAT: Serious concerns re: impartiality, thoroughness and credibility, implies attacks hitting military target "legal, notwithstanding civilian casualties, hence ignoring the principle of proportionality."

See also:


#Houthis: GEE "questions whether the de facto authorities have examined and investigated alleged violations of international law, in accordance with international standards, at all.
42. Re: complicity:

To arms-supplying/supporting states:

-May be held responsible for providing wrongful aid or assistance
- Required to ensure respect for IHL
- ATT obligations potentially engaged

GEE: Legality of arms transfers by #UK #US #France "remains questionable"
43. GEE (unlike many others in current #Yemen political landscape) makes clear:

- "genuine + comprehensive accountability" crucial to achieving peace + stability.

- Steps to collect + preserve evidence essential for this.

- Call on HRC to add evidence function to GEE mandate.
44. {I am getting (appropriately) scolded for this thread being too long so am going to wrap this up}.
45. Conclusions:

#Houthi #UAE #Saudi #Yemen others implicated in long list of violations + abuses.

Each should make you pause.

Each a tragedy for civilians impacted.
46. GEE identified those who may be responsible for international crimes and sent list to UN.

Here's hoping one day justice seen, and redress given.

Documentation not just to record, but to push for horrific practices to change, and remedies to be found.
47. The report of the GEE is a sobering read.

They themselves say it doesn't account for every violation, every abuse, every tragedy in #Yemen.

It's an attempt to show a snapshot of what this war has meant for civilians.

And it is awful.
48. It should spur states (and everyone else with influence) to push for change, real change.

No message is clearer than that those with power have failed to arrest a slide into the worst when it comes to the war in #Yemen.
49. The GEE's report (like anything else written or reported on #Yemen) would not have been possible without all the work Yemeni civil society has done to document, report on and stand up to abuse.
50. As the GEE notes, these activists do so at grave risk to themselves. But they keep doing so. They're the best partners when it comes to imagining a #Yemen sans war. So thank you to them.
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