On April 20, 2017, Watchlist launched its new research report “Every Day Things are Getting Worse” The Impact on Children of Attacks on Health Care in Yemen at the United Nations. In December 2016 and January 2017, Watchlist conducted field research in Yemen to gather information on attacks on medical facilities and personnel by parties to the conflict and the impact of these attacks on children’s health. Watchlist co-produced the report with Save the Children, which has a long history and operational presence in the country. The report provides policy recommendations to key stakeholders, including parties to the conflict, humanitarian agencies, and UN agencies to strengthen children’s right to health care and humanitarian aid.
“Every Day Things are Getting Worse” details how parties to the conflict have prevented children from accessing health care through attacks on medical facilities and personnel and occupation of medical facilities for military purposes. Additionally, the report documents how the de facto blockade imposed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has also prevented entry into the country of lifesaving medical supplies and humanitarian aid, further hindering children’s access to quality health care. The report describes how attacks and the de facto blockade have compounded challenges to children’s health, already exacerbated by two years of armed conflict. The country is on the brink of famine and, according to UNICEF, every 10 minutes, a child in Yemen dies of a preventable disease.
The report was officially launched at a UN Press Conference, preceded by a special preview event for the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. The report was also presented, alongside a report by Physicians for Human Rights focused on denial of access to humanitarian aid in Syria, at the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations on May 3, 2017, which coincided with the anniversary of the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2286 regarding the protection of medical facilities in conflict. The report has helped to prompt much needed discussion regarding concrete steps that can be taken to better protect medical facilities and personnel from attacks in Yemen, hold perpetrators to account, and allow unhindered humanitarian aid to enter the country. The report has been covered by the BBC, Newsweek, and the Diplomat among other news agencies. Watchlist will next present the report in Geneva at the World Health Assembly on May 22.