Human Rights Groups Call on Pentagon to Reinvestigate Civilian Deaths in Yemen


On Tuesday, the Yemen-based group Mwatana for Human Rights and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic asked Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to open new investigations of past US attacks in Yemen, apologize for the deaths of civilians whom the US has already acknowledged killing, and provide compensation to their families.

“The Department of Defense should do more to show it takes the prospect of accountability for civilian deaths and injuries with the seriousness it deserves…The US military should open new investigations into civilian harm we have reported and make a serious effort to understand the civilian impact of US operations. All civilians killed or harmed by the US military deserve acknowledgment, amends or reparations, and accountability for wrongs,” wrote Radhya Al-Mutawakel, the chair of Mwatana, and Priyanka Motaparthy of Columbia in a letter sent to Austin.

A report by Mwatana released earlier this year examined 12 US attacks in Yemen, 10 of them so-called counterterrorism airstrikes, between January 2017 and January 2019. The authors found that at least 38 Yemeni civilians—19 men, six women, and 13 children—were killed and seven others injured in the attacks. A June Pentagon report on civilian casualties acknowledged one of those incidents.

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