Meet the 9 Top Spoilers of Peace in Yemen

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

Abdulmalik al-Houthi and Mohammed bin Salman garner the top two ‘awards’
for committing the most awful crimes in Yemen

Soon after the UN Human Rights Council voted to end the mandate of the only international, independent and impartial mechanism probing violations committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, civil society groups and members of the public from across the world took the initiative to identify, name and shame the top spoilers of peace as a step towards breaking the cycle of impunity in Yemen.

On Tuesday, November 2nd, the names of the 9 top spoilers responsible and implicated in undermining peace and accountability in Yemen were announced and their egregious acts given the recognition they deserve during a virtual ceremony culminating the month-long collaborative “Spoilers of Peace 2021″ campaign, coordinated by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

An esteemed panel of judges -including activist and President of the International Federation for Human Rights Alice Mogwe, Research Fellow at the Yemen Policy Center Hadil Al-Mowafak, Human Rights Defender Huda Al-Sarari and Human Rights Lawyer Reed Brody – selected and announced the best of the worst across 10 human rights-related categories after reviewing tens of ‘spoilers’ dossiers’. The dossiers were shortlisted from a total of 150 nominations submitted by members of the public, as well as Yemeni and international civil society groups, and verified by a group of researchers.

The 9 Top Spoilers of Peace in Yemen, as chosen by the public and selected by the campaign’s panel of judges:

  • Top Overall Spoiler of Peace: Abdulmalik al-Houthi, military, spiritual, and political leader of Ansar-Allah aka ‘the Houthis’ in Yemen [North of Yemen]
  • Top Spoiler for Atrocities and Severe Rights Violations: Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia [Riyadh, Saudi Arabia]
  • Top Spoiler for Causing Humanitarian Suffering: Hani bin Brek, Vice President of the Southern Transitional Council [United Arab Emirates] 
  • Top Spoiler for Fueling the War Economy: Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, President of Yemen [Riyadh, Saudi Arabia]
  • Top Spoiler for Arming the Parties to the Conflict: Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister [London, UK]
  • Top Spoiler for Violations Against Children: Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia [Riyadh, Saudi Arabia]
  • Top Spoiler for Perpetrating Sexual and Gender-based Violence: Abdul Hakim Hashim Ali alKhiyawan, Director of the Security and Intelligence Bureau [Sana’a, Yemen]
  • Top Spoiler for Environmental Damage: Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, former President of the Houthi Revolutionary Committee and member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council [Sana’a, Yemen]
  • Top Spoiler for Undermining Safe Reporting and Freedom of Expression: Mojahed Ahmed Al-Amdy, the Judge and Head of the Sana’a based Houthi-run Specialized Criminal Court [Sana’a, Yemen]
  • Top Spoiler for Violations Against Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants: Shallal Ali Shaye, Aden’s Security Chief and Senior Commander in the Southern Transitional Council (STC) [Aden, Yemen]

“Throughout the course of the war, Houthis made it clear that they are not interested in any peace deal that does not grant them considerable, if not exclusive, power over the country. Yet, it is hard to imagine peace in Yemen while a radical religious and supremacist militia such as Houthis is in power,” said Hadil Al-Mouwafak, research fellow at the Yemen Policy Center, in her comment about why the “Top Overall Spoiler of Peace” award was given to Abdulmalik al-Houthi.

“We are spotlighting Mohamed bin Salman for his role as commander of the Saudi war in Yemen, which has led to civilian deaths, starvation, mass displacement and illness from the destruction of schools, hospitals and markets. MBS should not be allowed to get away with the bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure and the blockading of humanitarian relief, which have caused catastrophic suffering to the people of Yemen,” said Reed Brody, an international human rights lawyer who is renowned for his work in helping victims pursue abusive leaders for atrocities, and has gained fame as the ‘Dictator Hunter’.

The Spoilers of Peace campaign hopes the spotlight on the spoilers will build a momentum to help reinvigorate international efforts to deter further atrocities and end the protracted conflict.

Now that the individuals obstructing peace are exposed and the evidence of their harmful actions is made public, it is imperative to secure justice for the Yemeni people and make sure war criminals do not continue to shelter in impunity,” said Huda Al-Sarari, human rights defender and Martin Ennals Award 2020 laureate.

She added, “The international community must ensure peace advocates and civil society representatives are included in peace talks and future negotiations. Over the years, civil society, women and youth-led groups have demonstrated a serious commitment to working towards lasting peace, unlike the 9 spoilers of peace and others who continue to profit from war and show no interest in ending Yemen’s suffering.”

The over seven-year long war in Yemen has become one of this century’s deadliest conflicts and the world’s largest man-made humanitarian disaster, with over 20.7 million people in need of aid.  Today, over 400,000 Yemeni children are at risk of dying and 16.2 million people face acute food insecurity. Only lasting peace will save their lives, one that is built on justice and accountability.

“The fate of millions in Yemen rests on whether or not the international community will finally take effective steps to end the impunity of spoilers of peace. This campaign has shone a spotlight on those who are obstructing the peace process and committing human rights violations in Yemen.  They should not be allowed to continue to get away with their crimes.  End the impunity and de-escalate the conflict so that finally there will be an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people,” said Neil Hicks, Senior Director of Advocacy at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.

For more information about the campaign and the winners, or interviews with members of the judges panel, please contact us via:


Follow the Spoilers of Peace 2021 campaign on:

FACEBOOK; TWITTER and INSTAGRAM   #Shaming_the_Shameless



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