Monthly briefing-November 2023

Political Scene

Consultations are currently taking place in Riyadh and other Gulf capitals, with the assistance of UN and American envoys, as well as ambassadors from the five permanent UN Security Council member states. The goal of these discussions, which have been ongoing for several days, is to establish a new ceasefire agreement in Yemen, focusing on humanitarian and economic arrangements. Members of the Presidential Leadership Council have been summoned to Riyadh for consultations in tandem with the visit by UN and American envoys.  The aim is to reinvigorate the struggling political process and seek a peaceful resolution to the Yemeni conflict, which has caused extensive human suffering. At the same time, the UN Security Council has extended the sanctions regime on Yemen for 12 months and prolonged the mandate of the Special Sanctions Committee’s expert group on Yemen.

-15 US Republican senators proposed designating the Houthi group as a terrorist organization as a response to their recent attacks on Israel, including launching cruise missiles and drones. November 4

-The UN Security Council unanimously voted to extend financial sanctions and travel bans on individuals involved in actions that threaten peace, security, and stability in Yemen. The Council also extended the mandate of its expert group for another year. November 14

– The Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council met with UN and US envoys, as well as the US ambassador, in Riyadh to discuss efforts to revive the peace process in Yemen. He emphasized the importance of the international community upholding Security Council resolutions and applying maximum pressure on the Houthi group. November 15

-The Saudi Minister of Defense, Prince Khalid bin Salman, met with the Presidential Leadership Council to discuss the roadmap to end the nine-year conflict in Yemen. He reaffirmed the Kingdom’s unwavering support for the PLC and its commitment to renewing the truce and alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people. November 15

In Marib and Taiz governorates, as well as the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa, ongoing demonstrations took place, echoing solidarity with the Palestinian cause, calling for an end to Israeli aggression- supported by the United States and certain Western nations- against the Gaza Strip. November 18

– The Yemeni government, led by Prime Minister Dr. Maeen Abdul Malik, launched a campaign to provide aid to the Palestinian people during a meeting with the private sector. This initiative is part of Yemen’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip. November 21

– The European Union, the United Kingdom, and France have condemned the Houthi group’s hijacking of the “Galaxy Leader” ship, owned by an Israeli businessman, in the southern Red Sea. They are demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the ship and its crew.  November 21

– Rashad Al-Alimi, Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council, has issued a warning about the Houthi group’s threats to navigation in the Red Sea. He emphasized the negative impact of these threats on the Yemeni economy and the humanitarian crisis in the country. Al-Alimi’s warning comes in response to the group’s hijacking of a commercial ship owned by an Israeli businessman off the Yemeni coast. November 22

– The Houthi group expelled the Deputy Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Yemen for reasons unrelated to human rights. This action, similar to a previous expulsion in 2020, was deemed a “violation of human rights” by the Commission. . November 25

Security Scene

In November, the security situation in Yemen showed some improvement compared to previous months. However, the potential for a resurgence of violence remains due to ongoing political disputes among Yemeni factions. Security services were able to prevent the smuggling of weapons and drugs intended for the Houthi group, highlighting the ongoing challenges in maintaining stability.

  • Yemeni security forces stopped an attempt to smuggle unmanned aerial jamming devices into the country. The devices were hidden in a shipment of 20 boxes headed for the Houthi group in the capital, Sana’a. The seizure occurred at the Shehn border crossing in Al-Mahra Governorate, near the border with Oman. October 27
  • Yemeni security forces in Taiz governorate have successfully intercepted a shipment of weapons and ammunition headed to Houthi-controlled areas. The seizure occurred on the Al-Aqroud front in the Taiz countryside. November 9
  • The International Maritime Security Construction Organization (IMSC) and the Coalition Task Force (CTFSentinel) issued a joint letter expressing their ongoing concern about the heightened threat to shipping in the Red Sea near Yemen. This comes in response to recent threats from the Houthi group targeting commercial shipping in the area. November 18
  • The Houthi group seized control of the Galaxy Leader cargo vessel in the Red Sea and diverted it to the port of Hodeida, which is under their authority. They claim that the ship is of Israeli origin. November 19
  • The Saudi- and UAE-led coalition’s joint naval forces in Yemen intercepted a stateless vessel in the international waters of the Gulf of Oman and seized a large shipment of drugs valued at approximately $21 million. The drugs were reportedly headed to Yemen. November 20
  • Unidentified gunmen took control of an oil ship in the Gulf of Aden, 18 nautical miles beyond Yemen’s territorial waters. American forces conducted a successful landing operation to free the ship and arrest the pirates, with no human casualties. The Yemeni government blamed the Houthi group for the abduction. November 26

Military Scene

In November 2023, the military situation in Yemen witnessed a heightened level of escalation, largely attributed to the aggressive actions of the Houthi group. The group launched multiple offensives against government forces’ positions, resulting in the casualties of numerous individuals. Furthermore, the Houthi militants successfully took control of an Israeli cargo vessel in the Red Sea, emphasizing their ongoing threat to regional security.

  • The Houthi armed forces spokesperson announced the launch of a significant number of missiles and drones aimed at Israeli sites. This is the third operation of its kind, and the spokesperson stated that they will continue these attacks until Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip stops. October 31
  • Tensions between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi group have escalated following intense clashes on the border that resulted in the deaths of four Saudi soldiers. In addition, Saudi air defenses intercepted a “ballistic” missile launched by the Houthis towards Israel. This incident occurred weeks after a similar operation that resulted in the loss of Saudi and Bahraini soldiers. October 31.
  • Major General Sagheer bin Aziz, the Chief of the General Staff, escaped an assassination attempt involving a car bomb in Marib, where some of his companions were injured in the attack. The government later attributed the responsibility for planting the bomb to a cell affiliated with the Houthi group. November 7
  • The Commander of the Sixth Military Region has confirmed that the Houthi group is taking advantage of the situation in Gaza by mobilizing fighters to participate in conflicts in Marib, Taiz, Al-Dhalea, and other areas. This announcement aligns with a rise in the group’s aggressive activities on several fronts, particularly in the Marib governorate. November 21
  • The Yemeni armed forces stopped Houthi militias from infiltrating army positions in the western countryside of Taiz Governorate. This happened during an escalation on multiple battlefronts across the nation. This aligns with the UN and international community’s efforts to secure a broader truce agreement, leading to negotiations to resolve the conflict in the country. November 24
  • The Yemeni army, for the third time, successfully repelled a third attack by Houthi militias on its positions at the Sarwah front, west of Marib governorate. The attack resulted in casualties among Houthi militias and government forces. Notably, this occurred despite the presence of a delicate truce under international auspices for over a year. November 25

Economic Scene

Yemen’s oil exports dropped from $6.4 billion to $1.7 billion in 2021 and 2022. The Houthi group worsened the national economic situation by depleting foreign exchange reserves, implementing monetary division, and controlling banks through financial legislation. Despite modest growth in 2018 and 2019, the legitimate government faced economic contraction in 2020 and 2021, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian conflict. The value of the Yemeni riyal further depreciated against foreign currencies, exceeding 1,500 against the dollar and 400 against the Saudi riyal.

-The Central Bank of Yemen’s efforts to maintain exchange rate stability were disrupted by Houthi escalation in late 2022, which led to stagnant oil exports and reduced customs revenues. The Houthi economic warfare intensified in 2023, resulting in the government’s inability to pay public sector salaries. In response, Saudi Arabia offered $1.2 billion in financial support to cover the budget deficit and employee salaries. November 2

-Yemeni Parliament member Ali Ashal uncovered a corruption scandal within the government, revealing a deal in the oil sector where the government sold 18 million barrels of crude oil to a UAE company in exchange for protection. The deal, criticized widely and deemed “disastrous and unprecedented” by Ashal, transpired at a value 30%-35% below the global market price. November 4

– The Houthi group has implemented a new increase in heavy transport fees at its port in Dhamar Governorate, located south of Sana’a. This decision is expected to place additional financial strain on the industry, leading to higher costs and negatively affecting the prices of crucial food items. November 13

– The Yemeni riyal reached its lowest level since April 2022, surpassing the threshold of 1,500 against the dollar and 400 against the Saudi riyal. This decline is attributed to the ongoing economic crisis in the country and the cessation of oil exports from ports controlled by the legitimate government. November 28

 Violations

In November 2023, human rights violations continued in Yemen. International and local human rights organizations documented numerous cases of abuse against civilians, especially children, in different governorates. Journalism in Yemen also faced increasing challenges, with a rise in violations against the press and journalists.

  • 51 human rights organizations have joined forces to demand an end to war crimes against journalists in Yemen. They emphasized the grave danger faced by journalists, who are frequently targeted by all parties in the conflict. The coalition is concerned about the lack of impartial investigations by law enforcement authorities, which has led to a lack of accountability for those responsible. November 2
  • Doctors Without Borders reported an outbreak of scabies among detainees at Hajjah Central Prison, which is controlled by the Houthi group. The organization treated 250 patients, distributed hygiene supplies to 1,035 individuals, and highlighted the rapid spread of the disease in densely populated places like prisons, where cleanliness and health awareness levels are inadequate. November 8
  • The Association of Mothers of Abductees in Hodeida governorate is urgently appealing for the release of 41 abductees who have been forcibly disappeared. They are being held in Houthi prisons in Sanaa and by joint forces on the western coast. November 10
  • The International Organization for Migration reported a 25% decrease in the number of African migrants arriving in Yemen, with a total of 1,169 migrants compared to the previous month. At the same time, 5,386 Yemenis returned from Saudi Arabia, marking an 8% increase, which was attributed to a mass deportation by Saudi authorities. The Commission identified the establishment of military checkpoints along the Yemeni coastal strip as the cause of the decline in migrant numbers. November 13
  • In the latter part of November, 29 Yemeni families were displaced in different governorates, such as Ma’rib, Shabwa, Al-Hodeida, Taiz, and Al-Dhalea. This displacement happened even though the overall situation in the country was relatively calm. The total number of displaced families since the beginning of the year has now reached 9,343. November 16

 

 

Humanitarian scene

  • The World Health Organization on reported a significant increase in diphtheria cases, with 1,780 infections and deaths in the first ten months of this year, up from 1,283 cases the previous year. The situation is worsened by the Houthi group’s refusal to carry out vaccination campaigns in areas under its control and their concealment of vaccine packages. November 17
  • The World Health Organization has reported that in Yemen, two million children under the age of five are suffering from wasting disease, with 540,000 in need of urgent care. The wasting rate in Yemen, at 19%, is much higher than the global average of 5%. The organization is working closely with Yemeni authorities to provide life-saving treatments and nutritional support to address this urgent issue. November 21

 

Statistics  

  • 20 Cases of Media Freedoms Violations – Q3 2023

Parties responsible for the violation

  • Government Agencies: 60%
  • Houthi Group: 25%
  • Anonymous: 15%

Types of Violations:

  • Arrests: 7 cases
  • Restrictions Imposed: 4 cases
  • Threats or Incitement: 3 cases

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  • “Childhood Diseases Crisis in Ibb Governorate: Toll Reaches 2,978 Child Deaths”
  1. Measles:
  • (1,584) suspected cases.
  • (16) deaths.
  1. Diphtheria:
  • (167) suspected cases.
  1. Whooping Cough:
  • (97) cases.
  1. Cholera:
  • (813) suspected cases.
  • (26) confirmed cases.
  1. Seasonal Influenza:
  • (252) cases.
  • (49) deaths.

Report by the health cluster led by the World Health Organization on November 12.

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Houthi Violations Against Children in Sana’a (November 19, 2022, to November 19, 2023)

Life-threatening actions:

  • Murder
  • Kidnapping
  • Injuries
  • Physical Assault

Education-Related Violations:

  • Sectionalization of Education
  • Utilization of Schools and Summer Centers for Mobilization

Military and Forced Participation:

  • Involvement of Children in Military Operations
  • Forced Conscription

Humanitarian Violations:

  • Plundering of Relief Supplies
  • Looting and Storming of Health and Educational Institutions

Identity Erosion:

  • Organizing Sectarian Activities
  • Erasing Societal Identity, Especially Among Children

Ideological Manipulation:

  • Mobilizing Children with Ideas Promoting Violence
  • Incitement
  • Advocating for Killing Relatives
  • Instilling Fear in Society

Source: Human Rights Office

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  • UNICEF confirmed
  • 49% of children suffer from stunting,
  • 75% of families suffer from food insecurity,
  • 53% of children are out of education,
  • 29% of children are involved in the labor market. November 12
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