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Governments Should Bolster Respect for Landmark Arms Ban

Governments should reinforce the global ban on chemical weapons by suspending the rights and privileges of Syria, a party to the treaty that has violated it with impunity for years.  This week, states that are parties to the Chemical Weapons…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
News

Biden’s U-Turn on Pledge Heightens Risks to Civilians in Yemen, Libya

United States President Joe Biden called in early February for “ending all American support for offensive operations in Yemen, including relevant arms sales.” At the time, I, like many human rights advocates who have been documenting abuses committed…
Southern Transitional Council forces backed by the United Arab Emirates prepare to storm the presidential palace in the southern port city of Aden, Yemen on August 9, 2019.
News

Conduct in Yemen War Means UK Government Should Not Resume Arms Sales

“The future for our defence sector is a very bright one.” So said Fleur Thomas, head of exports for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, as her government prepares to help host Europe’s biggest arms fair in London this…
Yemen apartment destroyed by airstrike.
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UK Suspends New Arms Licenses to Saudis After Losing Appeal in Face of Yemen War Violations

Yesterday I walked a route I know well from my former days as a trainee lawyer, through the cavernous Royal Courts of Justice in London, to hear three judges issue a ruling. It was all over in 15 minutes, but my colleagues and I left…
 Destruction at the location of an air strike at Radfan Ceramics Factory, west of Sanaa, Yemen, on September 23, 2015.
News

Amid Ongoing Bombings, More Protection Needed for Education

In areas of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus held by anti-government armed groups, schools have closed for fear that Syrian and Russian warplanes will bomb them. Instead, local residents have opened informal schools…
Children walk through the rubble of the Tamayuz (“Excellence”) kindergarten in the town of Hamouriyeh after it was hit by a Syrian-Russian airstrike on November 8, 2017. © 2017 Private
News

France Leads Initiative to Combat Impunity

Early on January 22, I began receiving reports from residents in Eastern Ghouta in Syria of chlorine being used in a ground attack on Douma. It was not the first time the besieged town suffered a chemical weapons attack. Almost five…
A man breathes through an oxygen mask at a medical center in Douma, Eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria January 22, 2018.
News

Russia Should Change Course and Support the Security Council

When the UN Security Council meets this week to discuss chemical weapons use in Syria, its 15 members should send a strong message to the Syrian government that those responsible for dozens of chemical weapon attacks will be held…
A poison hazard danger sign is seen in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, Syria on April 5, 2017. © 2017 Abdussamed Dagul/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
News

Appoint Strong Experts, Press All Parties to Cooperate

Bombing and shelling of civilians. Denial of access to food and medicine. Landmines and cluster bombs. Torture and abduction. Child soldiers. For more than two years, international, regional, and Yemeni human rights groups called on the…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Sanaa on August 25, 2017, killing at least 16 civilians, including seven children, and wounding another 17, including eight children. After an international outcry, the coalition admitted to
News

While Saudi Arabia Fights Yemen War Crimes Investigation

This week Saudi Arabia and its allies in Geneva are blustering and threatening other countries to try to defeat a UN Human Rights Council resolution that would set up an independent investigation into war crimes by all parties –…
MENA 2015 Bahrain Nabeel Rajab
News

Accountability Needed for Chemical Attacks in Syria

Evidence keeps mounting that Syrian government forces were behind a chemical attack that killed nearly 100 people in Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria in April. Today, a United Nations-appointed commission of inquiry released a report in…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
News

Death of Detained Activist Puts Spotlight on Syria’s Ghastly Prison System

Yesterday Noura Safadi said that she had received confirmation that the Syrian authorities executed her husband, Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, two years ago. Noura had been looking for Bassel since he disappeared from a Syrian prison in…
Bassel Khartabil
News

OPCW Releases Report on Khan Sheikhoun April Attack

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) released yesterday its report on the April 4 chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in northern Syria that killed at least 90 people. The OPCW concluded the attack used sarin, a…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
News

Russian Veto Over Chemical Attacks Shows Need for Evidence Gathering

On April 12, Russia’s United Nations ambassador raised his hand to mark Moscow’s eighth veto against a resolution aimed at addressing appalling atrocities in Syria. The failed resolution would have condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in…
Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov votes against a draft resolution condemning the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria at the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria at the United Nations Headquarters in Ne
News

Recent Attacks on Saraqeb Caught on Video

Videos and photographs taken last weekend in the city of Saraqeb, in northwestern Syria, show the unmistakably bright trails produced by incendiary weapons. The ZAB incendiary submunitions used in the attacks are delivered by RBK-500 bombs and contain…
Screenshot of a video taken in April 2017 in Saraqeb, northwestern Syria, showing the bright trails produced by incendiary weapons.
News

Exposure after Aircraft Attacked Town of Khan Sheikhoun

Dozens of people showed symptoms consistent with exposure to chemicals after aircraft attacked Khan Sheikhoun, a town in northern Syria, witnesses told us. While we are continuing to investigate, early reports suggest dozens were killed. Khan Sheikhoun is…
A civil defense member breathes through an oxygen mask, after what rescue workers described as a suspected chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017.
News

Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
News

Horrors in Syria’s Besieged Eastern Aleppo Continue, But Civilians in the West Under Fire Too

The small child cries hysterically on the hospital bed, covered in dust and blood. The video, posted by the pro-Syrian government news agency al-Akhbariya, shows scene after scene of civilian men, women, and children injured from what they say were…
MENA Syria Aleppo old city destruction October 2016
News

Video Footage Shows Incendiary Weapons Mounted on Russian Attack Aircraft

Several major media outlets are reporting that Russia’s state-run television has broadcasted footage appearing to show Russian aircraft at its airbase in Syria equipped with “cluster bombs.” The clip was deleted from YouTube after analysts published the…
Footage showing what Human Rights Watch arms experts have identified as RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM incendiary bombs mounted on a Russian attack aircraft at a Russian air base in Syria, June 18, 2016.
News
At the end of May, the Obama administration quietly suspended transfers of cluster munitions to Saudi Arabia following concern raised by evidence showing that the Saudi-led coalition had used US cluster munitions in or near civilian areas in Yemen. A…
A failed BLU-108 canister, with two submunitions still attached, that was delivered by a CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon during an attack on the quarry of the Amran Cement Factory on February 15, 2016.
News
The devastation of Yemen should be at the top of the agenda when US President Barack Obama visits Saudi Arabia today to attend the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh. Five GCC members, led by Saudi Arabia and armed in part by the US, are part…
The home of Muhammad Munfarih, which was destroyed in a fourth airstrike on the residential neighborhood of al-Hassaba in Sanaa, the capital, on September 21, 2015. The airstrike killed Munfarih and 17 other members of his family.