Human Rights First Congratulates Radhya al-Mutawakel, Chair of Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, on Her Selection as One of the TIME 100
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today congratulated Radhya al-Mutawakel, last year’s winner of the organization’s Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty, on her selection as one of TIME Magazine’s 2019 most influential people in the world. The Yemeni human rights defender co-directs Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, an independent Yemeni human rights organization that undertakes field investigations to produce objective accounts of human rights violations in Yemen, and provides legal support to assist victims.
“Radhya epitomizes the role of a human rights defender speaking truth to power at great personal risk. She’s an inspiration, and a worthy selection as one of TIME’s most influential people,” said Human Rights First’s Rob Berschinski. “The only reason we know about some of the atrocities going on in Yemen is because of Mwatana’s ongoing commitment to the truth—knowing that it alone paves the way to justice."
Mwatana documents violations by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, including by Yemeni government forces, U.S.-backed coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and Houthi insurgents. Mwatana’s recent reports document the role of U.S. and European weapons in the Yemeni conflict; Saudi and Emirati coalition airstrikes on civilian sites; Houthi use of landmines and indiscriminate shelling; and extrajudicial executions by Yemeni government-aligned forces. Al-Mutawakel and her fellow co-director, Abdulrasheed al-Faqih, have faced detention, attacks, and harassment by both the Houthis and Saudi/UAE-led coalition in response to the organization’s reporting.
“Congress’s recent actions to end U.S. involvement in the disastrous war in Yemen are a testament, and direct result, of Radhya al-Mutawakel’s courageous work. Mwatana’s staff risk their lives to make sure the rest of the world knows the human costs of conflict,” added Berschinski. “Radhya has shown, through painstaking research, that America’s Saudi and Emirati allies—whom we supply with weapons and intelligence—are responsible for the vast majority of civilian deaths in Yemen. The Trump Administration isn’t interested in this message, but members of Congress from both parties clearly are.”
Al-Mutawakel, al-Faqih, and the staff of Mwatana received Human Right First’s 2018 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty. The award is named in honor of Roger N. Baldwin, principal founder of both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the International League for Human Rights. Mwatana was presented with a $30,000 prize and an all-expenses paid advocacy trip to the United States, where al-Mutawakel and al-Faqih met with members of Congress and their staff.
For more information, contact Christopher Plummer at PlummerC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3310.