Since UN Monitors Left Yemen: ‘Unchecked, Horrific Violations’

Death toll soaring since October

The removal of UN human rights monitors from Yemen went about as badly as most predicted, with the Norwegian Refugee Council confirming Thursday that the first four months have seen “unchecked, horrific violations,” and urging the monitors be reinstated.

The monitors were meant to lead to accountability in violence against civilians. The UN Human Rights Council voted 21-18 to eliminate this program in October, with the Saudis heavily lobbying against the monitors, and accusing them of “spreading misinformation.”

In the last four months of the program, 823 civilian casualties were reported. In the first four months since the vote, 1,535 civilian casualties happened. The casualties from mostly Saudi airstrikes were the largest source of growth.

While reports from the UN often pointed out Saudi war crimes in Yemen, the Saudis would express outrage and the report would quietly be withdrawn. Some who supported withdrawing the monitors suggested they weren’t doing much good to begin with, and even if there is no official UN body to report who is killing all these civilians, everyone knows it is still the Saudis, and the UN is no more or less likely to rebuke them for it now than before.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of