All parties to the long-standing conflict in Yemen continued to commit violations of international humanitarian and human rights law with impunity. Despite a ceasefire agreement, parties to the conflict continued to carry out unlawful attacks that killed and injured civilians, interfered with their access to humanitarian aid and destroyed civilian objects. The internationally recognized government of Yemen and the Huthi de facto authorities continued to harass, arbitrarily detain, and prosecute journalists and activists for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression or because of their political affiliation. All parties perpetrated gender-based violence and discrimination. The Huthi de facto authorities banned women from travelling without a male guardian, increasingly hindering Yemeni women from working and giving or receiving humanitarian aid. All parties continued to target LGBTI people with arbitrary arrest; torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence; threats; and harassment. All parties to the conflict contributed to environmental degradation.
On 2 April, parties to the conflict agreed to a UN proposal for a two-month nationwide ceasefire, which was subsequently renewed every two months until 2 October. The parties agreed to halt offensive military operations inside Yemen and across its borders, and facilitated fuel shipments to enter Hodeidah port and commercial flights to operate in and out of the international airport in the capital, Sana’a, to predetermined destinations. However, during the ceasefire and after it came to an end, parties to the conflict sporadically carried out attacks on civilian areas and frontlines in Ma’rib, Hodeidah, Ta’iz and Dhale’ governorates.
On 7 April, President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi ceded power to a new eight-member presidential leadership council led by the former interior minister, Rashad al-Alimi. The council included representatives of a range of key military and political figures opposing the Huthi de facto authorities.
Yemenis’ access to food remained highly restricted. This was aggravated by the depreciation of the Yemeni riyal, high inflation rates and soaring global food prices. According to the World Food Programme, food insecurity reached critically high levels in 20 out of the 22 governorates.
Unlawful attacks and killings
Before April, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Huthi forces conducted indiscriminate attacks that killed and injured civilians and destroyed and damaged civilian objects, including health and education facilities and telecommunication infrastructure.
On 20 January, the Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes on Hodeidah city, killing at least three children, and destroyed a telecommunication building causing a nationwide internet blackout for four days. On 21 January, the Saudi-led coalition fired a US-made precision-guided munition at a detention centre in Sa’adah, north-western Yemen, which killed at least 80 civilians and injured over 200.1
On 4 May, four mortar shells were dropped from a drone on the Ta’iz governorate police administration building and the adjacent street in al-Ardhi neighbourhood, Sala district. The neighbourhood includes a cancer centre, a playground, the College of Arts and two football fields. The attack injured six civilians.
On 23 July, an artillery shell killed a three-year-old boy and injured 11 children in Zaid al-Moshki residential neighbourhood, Ta’iz governorate. The Huthis denied responsibility for the attack.
On 21 October and 9 November, the Huthis conducted two drone attacks on Al Dhabah oil terminal port in Hadramout governorate and Qana oil port in Shabwa governorate, respectively, to disrupt oil exports.
Freedom of expression
Parties to the conflict continued to harass, threaten, arbitrarily detain and prosecute individuals for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
Huthi de facto authorities
In January, the Huthi de facto authorities raided at least six radio stations in Sana’a and shut them down. The owner of Sawt al-Yemen radio station appealed against the closure before the Journalism and Publishing Court in Sana’a and obtained a court order in July in favour of reopening the station. On 11 July, however, security forces raided and shut down the station again and confiscated its broadcasting devices.
The Huthi de facto authorities continued to imprison at least eight journalists, four of them on death row, following a grossly unfair trial in 2020. From May onwards, the appeal court in Sana’a repeatedly adjourned the appeal hearing of the four journalists on death row, Akram Al-Walidi, Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq Al-Mansouri.2 In July, Tawfiq al-Mansouri was denied urgent medical treatment despite his critical health condition.
On 22 February, the Sana’a-based Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) – a court traditionally reserved for security-related crimes – sentenced journalist Nabil al-Sidawi to eight years in prison following a grossly unfair trial on trumped-up, serious charges including spying. On 28 June, the Hodeidah-based SCC sentenced journalists Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Juniad each to three years and eight months in prison following secret proceedings in the absence of their lawyer on trumped-up spying charges.3
Government of Yemen
The internationally recognized government harassed, summoned for investigation, or arbitrarily detained at least seven journalists and activists in areas under its control, including in Ta’iz and Hadramout governorates. Judicial authorities prosecuted at least three journalists for publishing content critical of officials and public institutions. Charges included “insulting” a public employee, which carries up to two years in prison, “mocking” army officials, and “offending a symbol of the state”.4
On 4 July, security forces in Ta’iz governorate arbitrarily arrested a writer because of a social media post in which he criticized corruption in aid delivery to internally displaced people in Ta’iz governorate. Security forces held him at the security department of Jabal Habashi district for eight hours and only released him after forcing him to sign a pledge stating that he would refrain from posting any opinions on social media.
Denial of humanitarian access
Parties to the conflict continued to restrict movement and aid delivery, including by imposing bureaucratic constraints such as travel permit denials or delays, cancellation of humanitarian initiatives, and interference in the project design and implementation of humanitarian activities.
The Huthi de facto authorities continued to close the main roads in and out of the city of Ta’iz. The closures severely inhibited the efficient movement of food, medicines and other essential goods in and out of Ta’iz governorate.5
Throughout 2022, there was an alarming increase in attacks on aid workers and violence against humanitarian personnel assets and facilities by parties to the conflict. In the first half of the year, according to the UN Yemen office, one aid worker was killed, two were injured, seven were kidnapped and nine were detained. In the same period, there were also 27 incidents of threats and intimidation, and 28 incidents of carjacking, leading to temporary suspensions of movement and aid delivery in several governorates.
Right to truth, justice and reparation
Parties to the conflict failed to provide any justice for victims of the widespread violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law during the ongoing conflict or to remedy the harms they inflicted on civilians.6
On 2 June, Mwatana for Human Rights, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and Sherpa, supported by Amnesty International, submitted a criminal complaint to the Paris Judiciary Tribunal against French arms companies Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA France. The organizations called for a criminal investigation into the companies for their possible complicity in alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Yemen, by exporting arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
On 7 October, the UN Human Rights Council once again failed to establish a credible independent and impartial monitoring and accountability mechanism in the resolution it adopted on Yemen.
Women’s and girls’ rights
The Huthi de facto authorities continued to impose their mahram (male guardian) requirement, which bans women from travelling without a male guardian or evidence of their written approval, across governorates under Huthi control or to other areas of Yemen. From April, tightened Huthi restrictions increasingly hindered Yemeni women from working, especially those required to travel for their job.7 This had a direct impact on the access of Yemeni women and girls to healthcare and reproductive health rights as Yemeni women humanitarian workers increasingly struggled to conduct fieldwork in Huthi-controlled areas and were forced to cancel field visits and aid deliveries.
In March, the government’s Ministry of Interior issued a circular to facilitate Yemeni women’s access to a passport as per Yemeni law. This followed a Yemeni women-led campaign, “My passport without guardianship”, which opposed the customary practice that denies women the right to acquire a passport without the permission of their mahram.
The Huthi and government authorities continued to arbitrarily detain women past completion of their sentences when they did not appear to have a male guardian to escort them home from the prison.
The Huthi de facto authorities continued to detain actress and model Intisar al-Hammadi, who was sentenced in 2021 to five years in prison on charges of committing an “indecent act”.
LGBTI people’s rights
The security forces of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), the Huthis and the internationally recognized government continued to target people with non-conforming sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics (SOGIESC) with arbitrary arrest, torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, threats and harassment.
The STC and the Huthis arrested at least five people and detained them on grounds of their non-conforming “feminine” or “masculine” appearance and/or behaviour in public or on social media, or based on their LGBTI-rights activism. Plain clothes Security Belt forces arrested a third-gender person in the street, took him to an official facility and interrogated him on accusations of sodomy and being an agent for Security Belt enemies. The Security Belt forces then transferred the person to another official facility where a member of the Security Belt forces beat and raped him.
A queer man was arrested in the street by Huthi security forces for being a “sexual deviant”. Huthi security forces detained him for several hours in a military vehicle and only released him on condition that he agree to assist in their surveillance of people with non-conforming SOGIESC. They ordered him to entrap men in sexual encounters and inform on them to the Huthi authorities. After they released him, he subsequently refused to do this. In response, Huthi security forces contacted him and his acquaintances, threatened him and told him that he was wanted for arrest.
Parties to the conflict continued to fail to take measures that protect the environment. Severe fuel shortages made Yemenis increasingly rely on firewood. This environmentally damaging coping mechanism contributed to deforestation and biodiversity loss.
According to the UN Environment Programme, ambient air quality did not meet the WHO guideline levels for air pollutants that adversely impact health.
The mismanagement of oil infrastructure in Shabwa governorate continued to pollute al-Rawda district. In April, damage in the oil supply pipeline polluted large areas of agricultural land and groundwater sources in Wadi Ghourayr and Ghail al Saidi areas, according to Holm Akhdar, a local environmental organization.
In July, a decaying oil tanker caused oil spills in the port of Aden, in Southern Yemen, further worsening the coastal and marine pollution in the area.
In September, a UN crowdfunding campaign raised the USD 75 million required for the first phase of the emergency operation concerning the FSO Safer, a decaying oil tanker moored off Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah in the Red Sea. The tanker posed an increasing risk of spilling its cargo of 1.14 million barrels of oil, threatening an environmental and humanitarian catastrophe that would exacerbate the already severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen.8
- “Yemen: US-made weapon used in air strike that killed scores in escalation of Saudi-led coalition attacks”, 26 January
- “Yemen: Huthi authorities must release four journalists sentenced to death”, 20 May
- “Yemen: Huthis Must End the Prosecution of Journalists and Crackdown on Media”, 20 December
- “Yemen: Government must stop prosecution and harassment of journalists”, 18 August
- “Yemen: Houthis should urgently open Taizz roads”, 29 August
- “Yemen: Joint NGO letter: International accountability critical to achieving justice for victims and promoting lasting peace in Yemen”, 6 September
- “Yemen: Huthis ‘suffocating’ women with requirement for male guardians”, 1 September
- “Yemen: Joint response to Yemen’s supertanker crisis: An open letter to US, UK, EU member states, and other UN donor countries”, 18 July