Human Rights Institute Lunch Talk: The State of Human Rights in Yemen: Challenges and Lessons of Advocacy in Times of Conflict

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 @ 12:10pm to 1:10pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105
Oct 15
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019 @ 12:10pm to 1:10pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105


  • Radhya al-Mutawakel, Chairperson and Co-founder, Mwatana for Human Rights; named one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people in the world in 2019
  • Ali Almurtadha, Researcher, Mwatana for Human Rights; Obama Foundation Scholar at Columbia University

Moderated by: Priyanka Motaparthy, Director, Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict and Human Rights, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

For over four years, the conflict in Yemen has caused massive destruction and unprecedented impact on civilians.  The death toll is nearly 10,000 people, 250,000 Yemenis have been displaced by the conflict this year alone, and over 24 million people, or 80% of the population, need assistance to survive. What can be done to defend human rights and protect civilian life in Yemen? What is the role of the international community in redressing the grave human rights violations in Yemen and holding perpetrators accountable for war crimes? Join us for a discussion with Radhya al-Mutawakel and Ali Almurtadha as they share lessons learned from their experience with the Yemeni organization Mwatana for Human Rights.

Radhya al-Mutawakel is a Yemeni human rights defender. She is the chairperson and co-founder of Mwatana Organization for Human Rights. She has been working in the human rights field since 2004, covering different topics including war crimes, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and freedom of the press. She has been invited to present her work at numerous international events and forums, including at a hearing of the European Parliament, and she briefed the UN Security Council on 30 May 2017 on the war in Yemen.  In 6 March 2019 she had a testimony in front of the Congress. Al-Mutawakel was on the TIME's list of the 100 most influential people of 2019. On April 2017 she was awarded the “Global Advocate Award” from the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute and took part in the school's “Practitioner-In-Residence” program the same year.

Working for Mwatana as a central researcher, Ali Almurtadha has closely worked on supervising the documentation of human rights violations committed by parties to the current conflict in Yemen. Almurtadha has worked on numerous advocacy projects with stakeholders approaching mechanisms like the Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council. He obtained his Bachelor degree in political science, and has an interest in the field of human rights especially in transitional justice and development post conflict. Almurtadha is currently a resident Scholar at Columbia University as a recipient of the Obama Foundation Scholarship Program.

This event is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Institute, the Columbia Society of International Law, and the Middle Eastern Law Students Association.

All are welcome and lunch will be provided.

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