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Human Rights in Yemen under Consensus Government

Yemenat-Sana'a

Peaceful Revolution Salvation Front

People's Shadow Board

Human Rights in Yemen under Consensus Government

Introduction:

This report highlights situation of human rights in Yemen since the consensus government formation. It deals with the most incidents of rights violations exercised by governmental and non-governmental bodies, depending on direct observation of some cases and technical reports issued by some local and foreign organizations.

An outline on Human Rights in Yemen:

The police repressive apparatuses continue to exercise torture on innocent people. Some cases documented at Oulaia Police station are not addressed, and the public opinion is not informed about the legal action for them. Violations are being categorized according to the political parties agreement and affiliation on the basis of which advocacy of violations is imposed rather than on situation of human rights, which constitutes a great deal of deterioration as people started losing confidence in rights work. Due to their humble media tools, the independent rights activists' voice is not heard.

This report indicates the way the government tackles the 2011 uprising human rights violations, especially what named as Dignity Friday committed against peaceful protestors on March 18, 2011, which resulted in 52 killings, followed by burning of theTaiz change square and other acts of killing in several occasions in which the government lacked independence, neutrality and professionalism, as it neither abide by the principle of gathering information from authentic reliable sources nor it took necessary procedures to make them available to everybody. It is too difficult for the Yemen judiciary or its members, being insufficiently experienced, non-neutral and biased, to merely hear these criminal acts, under such a situation rather than to make objective judgment on them. while the judicial system suffers from shortage of necessary resources, human rights violation increases. It is enough to highlight the attack on peaceful protestors on June 9, 2013 by National Security Apparatus.

American drones continue killing illegally under pretext of pursuit Al-Qaida and counter-terrorism, which resulted in innocent killings among those accused with affiliating to Al-Qaida. As conflict factors have many reflections, the opposition parties' elimination from power and the presence of a biased media, which divide the cultural and social scene into several groups and political ideological currents along with a social division that nourishes a discriminating and ideological culture, as human rights protection mechanisms are absent despite the fact that the national human rights mechanism still within government framework , yet it did not manage to belong to human rights as much as it do to the government.

The social justice violation still exist. The rate of poverty remains high. The social and economic gap between rural and urban life get much larger, as more than 10 million peoples – actually a half of Yemen population – suffer from shortage of food and a million child are malnourished, according to statistics of the world food program and other humanitarian agencies. The social and economic rights violations are exercised at a larger-scale. e.g. employment and promotion is subject to principle of political sharing among members of the existing power while experienced professionals are disqualified and banned from public positions. price hikes continue without a parallel increase to social solidarity allocations. More than 50% of Yemenis get their food needs depending on ( credit ) as per a report by Oxfam.

Reality of Human Rights in Transition Period

The overall assessment of human rights in Yemen in this report confirm that such a deteriorating situation is not a result of social culture or shortage of material resources, or the need to capacity building that the government alleged to be reasons behind, rather it is an outcome of an existing bad policies by the government that lead an organized rights infringement.

The suppressing security apparatuses still freely kill, arrest and torture civilians. As a result of being repeatedly tortured a civilian has recently died at Oulaia police station, without any punitive measures or sanctions.

The security apparatus reshuffle plan continues to be not clear, rather the suppressing tools get more and more mysterious in its criminal acts against civilians.

The crime perpetrators still escape punishment and not even an official is punished for a violated human rights, which is eased by legal texts and judicial mechanisms that provide them more chance to kill and create chaos  

The culture of immunity and Hagar (slaughtering a head of cattle to express traditional apology)  still exercised to justify human rights violations.

The private jails still unknown and unacknowledged despite the fact that enforced disappearance exist and its files have been covered in mystery so far.

Security apparatus are not inquired by prosecution and not even supervised by it, which is necessary.

Right to life, freedom and personal security

Among the constant human rights violations is the torture exercised by police stations and the national and political security apparatuses, on which complaints –left unduly addressed- were reported to the ministry of human rights.

    The south civilians are killed by security apparatuses under pretext of being affiliates to South Movement. In a report issued by the south human rights observatory 120 people were shot dead by security personnel and more than 800 were injured over two years.

On Feb 20-21 the central security personnel opened fire on southern protestors resulting to at least 4 killings and 15 injuries, and only some of them used weapons and stones, according to eyewitnesses to Human Rights Watch HRW. The protestors attempted to disturb a festivity by the Islamic-oriented Islah party to celebrate Intifadha. On this day Hadi was elected as president of Yemen in a sole candidate presidential election. The killed may be 14 apart from 47 injuries, as human rights activists in the region told HRW, and at least two people of the south leaders were detained. They are Qassem Askr and Hussain Binshuaib.

     Though HRW documented a fewer violations in 2012-2013 than in Intifada's, it found out new violations to freedom of expression and of establishing societies from all parties, in addition to allegations to use excessive force by security forces. Human rights defenders claims that several anti-government demonstrators still arbitrarily detained by special forces and militias, a violation case which was documented by HRW in May 2012.

      In Feb 12. Some central security personnel attacked the demons staged in front of the council of ministers' headquarters to demand medical healthcare that the transition government had promised to provide to the Intifada injuries, resulting to minimum 5 wounded including MP Ahmed Saif Hashid, who was moved to hospital due to two deep head cuts, and did not managed, despite his immunity and ability to inquire Interior Minister IM, to oblige the government to refer the accused to prosecution for investigation.

In June 9, 2013, at 1:00 PM the national security NS committed a heinous crime against peaceful protestors nearby NS headquarters with aim at releasing a young prisoner who had been kidnapped two months earlier by NS following peacefully calling for annulling both of NS and national security Apparatuses. The massacre resulted to 9 killings who were directly shot by light and heavy weapons on fatal parts, and some of them was tortured before being killed". The 9 killed people are as follows:

1-    Atif Mohammed Atif

2-    Mohammed Fahad Abutalib

3-    Ali Hussain Almidar

4-    Hussain Alyateem Almatari

5-    Mustafa Mohammed Abutalib

6-    Maher Ahmed Assiragi

7-    Ahmed Mohammed Almasham

8-    Amer Ali Alakwa'

9-    Ilias Abdurahman Ashami

, in addition to 113, including 20 badly, injured whose may sustain permanent disability or die as they still receive treatment. The remaining 93 suffer slight ad medium injuries and torture injuries.

   More than 40 people, whose protest was peaceful, were arrested blindfolded and handcuffed, from 12:00 pm till after midnight and were badly treated and inquired by soldiers who beat and insulted them. Some of the detainees, who were bleeding, did not receive first aid and deprived from eating and drinking and it is said that several people were still forcedly disappeared at the NS which not merely did this but also attacked hospitals and detained some of the injured.

The ministry of human rights along with the government failed to capture the killers of the two young men Hasan Jafr Aman and his fellow Khalid Mohammed alkhateeb, who were shot dead cold-bloodedly on Wednesday May 15, 2013 by a wedding convoy in Sana'a without committing any crime.

    The drones continued illegally shelling on several areas of the country with dozens of killings and hundreds of injuries left behind, including women, children and old men, under pretext of counter-terrorism and pursuit Al-Qaida operatives.

Journalists are subject to several kinds of attacks, e.g. 135 cases were reported by Female Journalists without Chains FJC. 60 attacks on journalists, 34 threatenings, 9 smearing, 7 detentions, 6 assassinating attempts, 5 website blocking and hacking, 5 judgments, 4 arbitrary firing, and 3 arresting were reported by FJC.    

Some lawyers, who were involved with peaceful demons cases of March 18, Dignity Friday ,  were killed.

Disturbance prevails in prisons which go out of control. 6 prisoners in Ibb Jail were tortured by cutting their ears and fingers, using sharp tools, as a result of ill-treatment by the jail's management. Though the staff was reshuffled and the ministry of human rights participated in assessing its condition, a fire broke out inside the prison bedroom, resulted in 12 prisoners dead, as per statistics reported by inmates and rights activists, that we documented. 

    The actual number of prisons inmates do not correspond with the number of names listed in registers, as 5 prisoners, who are said to have been enforcedly disappeared, were found in Hodeida central jail to be disqualified, and an enforced disappearance case was identified inside a state-run psychiatric hospital in Hodeida, which confirms that prisons and infirmaries may accommodate enforced disappearance cases, so there is a need to inspect prisons for a census.

     Prisons in Yemen are overcrowded, with a bad clean situation, contaminated drinking water, shortage of food, despite being of low nutritional value, absence of sport and spread of several kinds of diseases such as tuberculosis and scabies. The healthcare inside prisons is in urgent need to human and material resources. As far as political prisoners are concerned, the ministry of interior work towards being visited or contacted with outside world, through resolutions to close some jails for security reasons, or to shorten the time allowed for visiting, arbitrary monitor of interpersonal correspondence, move prisoners from a jail to another without notifying their families about the new address.

    As for arbitrary arresting and detention, the police has extended its attack campaigns and the political activists and human rights defenders still being captured. 75  Houthi activists young men were arrested in June 9 2013 following a massacre by the NS against armless protestors among whom 13 people were killed and 175 injured.

Law administration  

    The Yemeni judicial system is full of various kinds of fair trial criteria violations and warrants of an independent judiciary, apart from justice institutions undermining via establishing parallel exceptional laws, as the specialized penal court has not been annulled despite being unconstitutional. The individual freedom of gathering, moving and residing in specific places still hindered and tribal interceptions prevail without taking any solving procedures, despite the fact that such freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution and the security personnel are not allowed to interfere. Inspecting and arresting without an authorized license is widespread to an extent that it has become the exception rather than being the rule and civilians are not able to inquire about being stopped and inspected under dominance of policy of exception that permit the police official to disobey law.

Judges are subject to insulting, imprisonment, beating and assassinating by influencing figures, without being protected by the government.

Electricity grids and pipelines are blew up and damaged by tribal gunmen in Mareb and Sana'a, which causes total darkness, in a collective punishment nationwide, resulting in death of all of kidney patients, incubator kids and old people… no reported statistics. The government only continue to keep silent, which occur due to political reasons.

From another hand, the government continued infringing judiciary independence in various way including the executive authority controlling procedures that involve appointing, punishing, loaning, holiday-specifying and training of judges. The judicial supervising managements dependence to Ministry of Justice constitute an influence by the executive power on judges and prosecutors, apart from the legislations that entitle the minister of justice to delegate primary courts' heads and to supervise courts management and their internal systems such as departments setting up and cases distribution.   

    Despite being arrested by the protestors, 18 of the killers of youth at Dignity Friday were submitted to Ali Muhsen Alahmer, who joined the youth revolution, yet he had them freed and they may have transferred abroad, which is a challenge to justice and rule of law. The former president is the main accused in this massacre, however, the public prosecution has not ordered to bring him to justice for inquiry, under pretext of the fact that he is immunized and the consensus government exists.

Freedoms of expression, faith, gathering and of public participation

A number of activists were sued on charges of apostasy and some were imprisoned for a long time and got freed later on as they proved to be not guilty.

The Houthis, who are affiliates of Zaidi faith, a Shiite ideology, are suppressed intellectually and through media intimidation. Several ideological controversies are argued by salafi followers that they are disbelievers, which raises a social sectarian division that can threat stability in Yemen and is financed by neighboring oil-rich countries.

Intellectual tightening is exercised against  university students who are inquired about their beliefs and are oppressed when grading their scores as a result. This topic was questioned and some practices were documented following a case that took place at the college  of pharmacy revealed that a female student was punished by an exam- fail-threat due to her publishing of her exam result before the college did that, which can never justify intimidating the student. The female activist and member of the Yemen socialist party, Sali Adeeb Qahtan was accused of disbelieving as well as Ahmed Alarami, teaching staff member at Rada'a University.

The students activity regulation is loaded with many obstacles that relate to freedom of expression. It has imposed some complicated terms that preclude student electing candidate and offer legal justification to the university management and security apparatus to cross students names out of nomination lists on basis of their political and intellectual background, in addition to entitling the management to control all students activity.

It is dubious that Yemeni students do not enjoy the freedom to choose their representatives at student associations, except for those who study at foreign universities situated in Yemen whose student associations are uncontrolled by security intervention.

As it is permitted to establish civil society organizations CSO whose number is 12 thousands, the government approves 6 billion to finance tribe sheikhs instead of allocating amounts to those organizations that enhance civil society performance, and despite the fact that CSO are great in number, they are exploited to political purposes, especially after 2011 change revolution and political overall sharing among the parties, which included organizations and licenses, thus, the independents remain unable to have licenses, which require depositing a million Y.R to launch an organization. Yet anyone who has political support can be exempted.

Economic and Social Rights:

The country lacks health insurance. An example to prove this is the revolution people, wounded during peaceful protests, were forced to go to prosecution to attain their rights of medical treatment. Though they received a court ruling, the government still postpone putting it into effect.

The psychological patients are 20% among youth, as per psychiatric hospitals locating in Sana'a and reasons are attributed to high rate of unemployment and frustration resulting from political, social and economic conditions that Yemen undergo at present.

Liver and cancer diseases prevail awfully in Taiz-based district of Sharab and  Hadnan. An infected person in every home died over the last 1o years due to cancer. In fact,  there is no researches or studies on the reasons.

The populations living in suburbs and remote areas suffer from extraordinary marginalization. They, especially southern and eastern districts, are semi-separated from central government and receive low level of service, infrastructure, health and education services. The government does not allow them to possess the land on which their houses are built, using policy of transfer from a region to another.

Women Rights:

There are some observed sexual abuse crimes against women in Ibb and Dhamar provinces. There is so-called tourist marriage, which spreads as a result of the poverty that Yemen families suffer from, and due to the Saudi nationals who pay lavishly to fathers, however, the daughters are divorced a few months after such marriages took place, with a child being deprived of his father. Several trafficking cases have been reported and exploiting women refugees exists, some of whom suffer from remains of  torture and raping. Family violence against women is common amid silence emanating from fear of unknown. In a survey that covered Sana'a shows that fathers, husbands and brothers in 99% of surveyed homes practice violence against women.

Rights of Refugees and Displaced People:

Yemen receives refugees who come usually from Africa heading to Gulf countries. There has recently been refugees from Syria and Iraq who are a burden on Yemen government, which receives them on its land despite the great challenges it face. They do not have good care and the Yemen situation does not permit a good deal of protection, except for the support provided by UNHCR which hardly covers 25% of refugees. A beating case involving a Syrian refugee who study at a Sana'a-based  national university is observed and another rights activist from Iraq shot on his leg. Though  the police being informed, the circumstances were not disclosed .  

The number of internally displaced has almost doubled to reach a half of million, most of them are forced to move their places due to the fighting in Abyan. Dozens of thousands have returned to Abyan despite inflicted houses, the great damage on infrastructure and landmines and remains of explosive devices

Conclusion:

Black is the image reflected in this report, Yemen society continue to be hopeful  as for a better human rights situation, especially an independent national board looming, yet Yemen society is afraid of supporting the immunity to the former president that was approved in Gulf Initiative, as this immunity encourages impunity and more killings. The human rights committee members call for the government to  allow secretaries of those involved in torture, prisons, food and outlaw killing to visit Yemen and observe human situation. It is also encouraged that Yemen join Rome Convention and it is necessary that Yemen approves the agreement on fighting education discrimination and that it put an end to ideological discrimination and waging wars under disguise of religion.

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