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ACTION ALERT: Stop Bombing Yemen; Investigate US-backed Mass Killing in Wedding Attacks


October 10, 2015
RT America & Robert Naiman and Avram Reisman / Just Foreign Policy & Amnesty International

The US-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen has killed thousands of civilians -- including Americans trapped in Yemen -- while Congress has been mostly silent. Now, we have an opportunity to something about it: Reps. Debbie Dingell and Keith Ellison are circulating a letter to President Obama pressing for the US to take responsibility for protecting civilians from airstrikes and urging greater diplomatic efforts to end the war and engage with Iran.

http://fcnl.org/issues/middle_east/support_letter_expressing_concerns_of_growing_civilian_death_toll_in_yemen_airstrikes/

US Complicit in Saudi Bombing of Yemeni Civilians -- Human Rights Activist
RT America



(October 8, 2015) -- Amnesty International is criticizing the US and the UK for human rights violations in Yemen, accusing them of selling weapons and hardware to Saudi Arabia during the country’s intense airstrike and bombing campaign against Houthi rebels, which have killed hundreds of civilians since the end of March. RT’s Lindsay France speaks with human rights activist Ajamu Baraka about the Amnesty report and the ongoing violence devastating the region.



Growing Concern over Loss of
Civilian Lives in US-backed Air War on Yemen

Robert Naiman and Avram Reisman / Just Foreign Policy

(October 6, 2015) -- The US-backed Saudi bombing of Yemen has killed thousands of civilians -- including Americans trapped in Yemen -- while Congress has been mostly silent. Now, at long last, we have an opportunity to something about it: Reps. Debbie Dingell & Keith Ellison are circulating a letter to President Obama pressing for the US to take responsibility for protecting civilians from US airstrikes and urging greater diplomatic efforts to end the war, including engagement with Iran.

Please call your representatives, urging them to join efforts to protect civilians in Yemen and push for a diplomatic solution to the crisis by signing the Dingell-Ellison letter urging protection of civilians in Yemen from US-assisted airstrikes and engagement with Iran to end the war.

According to Amnesty International, more than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the war, with the "vast majority" of civilian deaths and injuries attributed to attacks by the Saudi-led coalition. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced; 12.9 million are considered food insecure; more than 1.2 million children are suffering from serious malnutrition.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called for an "end to bombings" in Yemen and has said there is no military solution to this conflict. Diplomatic action, including sustained engagement with Iran, is the only way to end the hostilities, reverse the humanitarian crisis on the ground, and protect more innocent lives from reckless airstrikes.

This is a pivotal opportunity to build on the pro-diplomacy momentum around the success of the #IranDeal to help end proxy wars in the Middle East. Crucially, this letter calls for a political solution that includes Iran -- as any realistic political solution must.

ACTION: If you haven't signed our petition in support of the Dingell-Ellison letter yet, you can do that here:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/Dingell-Ellison-letter-end-Yemen-war





Petition: Support the Dingell-Ellison Letter
To End Civilian Deaths in Yemen Airstrikes

Robert Naiman / MoveOn.org

ACTION: Sign the Dingell-Ellison letter urging Congress to demand increased efforts to avoid civilian casualties in the Yemen war and to increase diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, including engagement with Iran.

Petition Background
On September 28, at least 131 civilians, including at least 80 women, were killed at a wedding reception in Yemen in an airstrike by the Saudi-led military coalition. The US is providing the coalition with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and logistics information. With innocent Yemeni civilians, including thousands of Yemeni-Americans, still caught in the middle of this war, the coalition's airstrikes should be held to the same standards for protecting civilians as any US military operation should be.

According to Amnesty International, more than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the conflict, with the "vast majority" of civilian deaths and injuries attributed to attacks by the Saudi-led coalition.
More than 1.4 million people have been displaced;
12.9 million are considered food insecure;
more than 1.2 million children are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition;
thousands are fleeing Yemen every week;
experts warn that tens of thousands of Yemenis could join the waves of refugees seeking asylum in Europe if the conflict is not resolved soon.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called for an "end to bombings" in Yemen and has said there is no military solution to this conflict. Diplomatic action, including sustained engagement with Iran, is the only way to end the hostilities, reverse the humanitarian crisis on the ground, and protect more innocent lives from reckless airstrikes.

Urge your Representative in Congress to sign the Dingell-Ellison letter [See below] to President Obama to urge greater efforts to protect civilians from US-assisted airstrikes in Yemen and greater diplomatic efforts to end the Yemen war by signing our petition.


The Dingell-Ellison Letter Supporting
A Political Solution in Yemen

Text of Letter


The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

October 6, 2015
Dear Mr. President,

We write to express our dismay over recent reports that airstrikes conducted by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition struck a wedding reception on Monday, September 28, in Wahijah village, located outside of the Red Sea port city of Mokha in Yemen. The airstrike killed at least 131 Yemeni civilians, including at least 80 women.

Sadly, this is only the latest tragedy in the campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. According to Amnesty International, more than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the conflict, with the "vast majority" of civilian deaths and injuries attributed to attacks by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has acknowledged the United States is providing the Saudi-led coalition with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and logistics information, as well as resupply of equipment and munitions. With this level of active involvement in the campaign, we are concerned that some overseas may hold the United States responsible for any civilian casualties resulting from the bombing. In order to protect innocent lives and reduce the potential for backlash against US interests, we urge your administration to work with our Saudi partners to limit civilian casualties to the fullest extent possible.

When US weapons and intelligence are utilized, the decision to conduct an airstrike should correspond to the standards that would apply to any US military operation for limiting civilian casualties and collateral damage. Additional precautions to protect civilians are particularly crucial as the State Department has reported thousands of US citizens are still inside Yemen in the absence of an official evacuation.

Limiting civilian casualties, however, will only alleviate part of the heartbreaking humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. After a recent visit to Yemen, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, declared: "Yemen after five months looks like Syria after five years." More than 1.4 million people have been displaced.

An estimated 12.9 million are considered food insecure and six million are severely food insecure, while more than 1.2 million children are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition and half a million are severely malnourished, according to the United Nations World Food Programme. Thousands of refugees are fleeing Yemen every week, and experts warn that tens of thousands Yemenis could join the waves of refugees seeking asylum in Europe if the conflict is not resolved soon.

For these reasons, we share the concerns of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who called for an "end to bombings" in Yemen during his speech to the UN General Assembly on Monday and has consistently stated that there is no military solution to the conflict.

We thank you for your efforts to seek a negotiated solution, and are supportive of your administration's efforts to engage leaders of all countries in the region, including the Iranian government, in dialogue regarding a negotiated end to the civil war. We fully support the April 2015 UN Resolution 2216, which demands all parties in Yemen, in particular the Houthis, immediately and unconditionally end violence and refrain from further unilateral actions that threatened the political transition.

The resolution rightly calls for the Houthis to "withdraw from all areas seized during the latest conflict, relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions, cease all actions falling exclusively within the authority of the legitimate Government of Yemen and fully implement previous Council resolutions."

We urge you to continue these important diplomatic efforts, as the people of Yemen and their relatives in the United States are counting on us to fully explore all avenues that could lead to peace in Yemen.

We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

DEBBIE DINGELL
Member of Congress

KEITH ELLISON
Member of Congress


Yemen: UN Inquiry Needed as Civilian Lives Devastated
Six Months after Saudi Arabia-led Coalition Airstrikes Began

Amnesty International

(September 25, 2015) -- The international community must use the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to establish an investigation into violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses committed by all sides in Yemen, said Amnesty International six months after the country's descent into a bloody conflict.

The organization is urging the creation of a UN Commission of Inquiry into violations and abuses committed by all parties to the Yemen conflict, at the current Human Rights Council session in Geneva which concludes on 2 October.

More than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the conflict. Across the country, a desperate humanitarian crisis is escalating and more than 1.4 million people have been displaced from their homes.

"In the six months since the Saudi Arabia-led coalition began their campaign in Yemen, all sides have displayed a callous disregard for civilian life," said James Lynch, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

"With no end to this deadly conflict in sight and a spiralling humanitarian crisis, civilian suffering is at an all-time high. The international community must seize this moment to establish a credible, international inquiry that offers hope for accountability and justice for victims of serious violations and abuses in Yemen."

With no end to this deadly conflict in sight and a spiralling humanitarian crisis, civilian suffering is at an all-time high. The international community must seize this moment to establish a credible, international inquiry that offers hope for accountability and justice for victims of serious violations and abuses in Yemen

Saudi Arabia along with other members of the military coalition fighting in Yemen and the government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi are attempting to block the establishment of a UN investigation into the conflict by the Human Rights Council.

"It is time for the international community to stop turning its back on the victims of the crisis unfolding in Yemen and to take measures that will help end impunity, and send a clear message that perpetrators will be held to account. The first step towards that goal should be a thorough, impartial and independent investigation," said James Lynch.

The vast majority of civilian deaths and injuries have been caused by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition which is backed by the USA and the UK. Amnesty International has documented coalition airstrikes, purportedly against the Huthi armed group, but which have caused civilian deaths as well as destroyed homes and other civilian objects including schools and mosques. Key infrastructure such as bridges and roads have also been destroyed by airstrikes, hampering the delivery of humanitarian supplies.

Coalition forces have also used banned cluster munitions, which are indiscriminate by nature, and have been found to be produced or designed in the USA.

"Instead of providing logistical and military assistance to coalition forces that have committed serious violations, these influential members of the international community should seek to hold perpetrators of such violations to account," said James Lynch. "Any countries supplying arms to any party of the conflict must not authorise any transfer where there is an overriding risk the arms would be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law."

Instead of providing logistical and military assistance to coalition forces that have committed serious violations, these influential members of the international community should seek to hold perpetrators of such violations to account

In ground fighting, grave human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law have also been committed by the Huthi armed group and their opponents.

Both sides have endangered civilians by carrying out indiscriminate attacks and launching attacks in residential areas, including indiscriminate shelling of towns and cities in southern Saudi Arabia by the Huthis.

The Huthi armed group has also launched a crackdown in areas under its control, raiding and shutting down several NGOs and threatening their staff. They have also carried out dozens of arbitrary arrests, detentions and abductions of activists, journalists and others perceived as critics.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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