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Yemen: A humanitarian crisis

Since March 2015, an intensive air-strike offensive by the Saudi/UAE-led Coalition against Houthi forces has targeted markets, farms, family homes, civilian vehicles, civilian infrastructure and objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. A land, sea and air blockade imposed by the Coalition has contributed to a starvation epidemic which threatens the lives of up to 14 million people. 

The Saudi-led airstrike campaign is heavily reliant on the assistance of the UK, US and many European states. Following an extensive consultation process GLAN developed an evidence gathering strategy aimed at facilitating and commencing legal accountability efforts targeting powerful actors who contribute to violations of international law in Yemen. 


"Yemenis are being starved to death

on purpose, with starvation of civilians used by Saudi Arabia as a weapon of war."

Mwatana - Yemen's preeminent 

human rights organisation 


Our work to establish that the Royal Saudi Airforce is using British weapons in serious violations of international law and should not be exported 


Since 2018, GLAN has maintained a database of Coalition airstrikes and cluster bomb attacks, in order to cross-reference reports, evidence and Coalition responses. 


GLAN has prepared a methodology for the potential use of open-source investigations in documenting violations of international law.

Yemen workshop
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In July 2018, GLAN brought together investigative journalists, human rights researchers, technologists, open-source investigators and lawyers in order to understand the opportunities and obstacles for generating legal accountability. 

From the workshop emerged six major areas of challenge which need to be tackled if the international community is to adequately support Yemeni accountability efforts.

  1. How can we best coordinate with Yemeni organisations to find out what is happening on the ground, and learn what Yemenis want the international community to do?

  2. Given the international supply of weapons, what options are there for litigation in other jurisdictions? 

  3. What steps should NGOs be taking in order to comply with evidence standards in third states? For example, how is chain of custody maintained, and how should potential witnesses be dealt with?

  4. Compliance with international law is assessed from the point of view of the attacker. In the absence of classified information, how can non-governmental organisations find out about the decision-making behind airstrike targeting decisions

  5. There are huge volumes of online open-source information relating to alleged violations of international law in Yemen. How can this be captured and harnessed for use as evidence? 

  6. How can coordination take place between Yemeni NGOs, international NGOs, lawyers and journalists in a manner that deals with security risks?

From here GLAN has developed a number of multi-stakeholder projects, detailed below, with the aim of achieving concrete legal impacts that address the issues raised in our initial consultation.

 The Yemen Workshop 

This workshop was made possible by generous support from

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