STATEMENT: Increased Drone Strikes in Yemen Risks Civilian Lives
WASHINGTON, DC—Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) is deeply concerned with the dramatic increase in US military action in Yemen and calls on the US military and White House to keep in place constraints on the use of lethal force intended to limit civilian harm.
In the 41 days since President Trump took office, he has approved more than 25 strikes and raids on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. These have included three drone strikes in Yemen on January 20, 21, and 22; the January 28 Navy SEAL raid which resulted in the deaths of women and children as well as a Navy SEAL, and more than 20 air strikes on March 2-3. Yemeni civilians say that some strikes hit their homes, and other civilians were wounded.
“The January raid in Yemen that killed up to 30 civilians, and which is under investigation by the military, should have given the president and his commanders pause when ordering strikes like this,” said Sahr Muhammedally, CIVIC’s Director of Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. “Intelligence needs to be thoroughly vetted to ensure civilian harm is minimized.”
“All allegations of civilian harm must be thoroughly investigated and measures to protect civilians should be strengthened, not weakened,” Muhammedally added.
Civilian harm from drone strikes under the Obama administration occurred as well, eventually leading to the issuance of the 2013 presidential policy guidance to outline procedures for use of lethal force outside Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan and a “near certainty” standard that civilians would not be harmed. It’s unclear if this standard is being applied by the Trump administration, which could mean harm to civilians could increase.
Notes to editors:
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)'s mission is to improve protection for civilians caught in conflicts around the world. We call on and advise international organizations, governments, militaries, and armed non-state actors to adopt and implement policies to prevent civilian harm. When civilians are harmed we advocate for the provision of amends and post-harm assistance. We bring the voices of civilians themselves to those making decisions affecting their lives.
For more information, contact Christopher Allbritton at +1 (917) 310-4785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.