UN releases report on Yemen human rights violations

21 Sep


By: Malak Shaher 

Yemen Times

SANA’A, Sept. 14 – With the increase of water prices and the shortage of power and cooking gas, a recent report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) mentioned that the deteriorating situation in Yemen is affecting its population, especially children, IDPs and refugees.

 The report was made by a delegation that visited Yemen from June 28th to July 6th to assess the human right situation in Yemen.  It met with consultants and representatives from the Government and civil society in Sana’a, Aden and Taiz governorates.

According to the report, at least 63 children were reported killed in violence surrounding protests in Yemen before July 6th. Other children at the age of 15 were involved in the violence as they were seen in uniforms patrolling in the streets serving with both the government and the defected 1st Armored Brigade. 

The delegation also met with children orphaned after their parents were killed in protest violence “Some of whom witnessed firsthand scenes of extreme violence. Moreover, as education also began to suffer, children cannot go to schools as their schools are fields of war or places lived by IDPs,” said the report. 

The report, which was released Tuesday, said Yemen now suffers from violations of human rights such as the isolated acts of sabotage and violence against unarmed protesters leaving hundreds killed and thousands injured.

Violence against protesters was used to suppress demonstrations and marches. In two different incidents in Sana’a and Taiz more than one hundred were killed.

One of the incidents mentioned in the report was the death Dr. Gyab Ali Al-Saadi, the son of a leading member of the Southern movement. He was reportedly targeted and shot in the chest in Aden on 24 June as he was attempting to persuade soldiers not to fire on participants in the funeral of Mr. Ahmed Al-Darwish.

The sites visited by the delegation included locations of demonstrations, places where violence had occurred, hospitals and places of detention. In addition, the mission reviewed a large number of human rights documentation, including over 6,000 pages of documents, 160 compact discs, 6,000 photographs, and 1,800 videos.

Outside of the excessive force used against unarmed protesters by security forces, violence against protesters involved, “A different combinations of pro-and anti- government protesters, armed tribesmen and armed Islamists,” according to the report.

Other human rights violations included arbitrary arrests, detention, torture and other forms of ill-treatment for detainees.  The sources for these violations were the relatives’ victims.

Schools closed

The deteriorating situation in Yemen could affect education as well. Schools and Universities were closed, especially in the areas nearby conflicts such as Sana’a University, Arhab University and other schools in Aden, Taiz and Abyan. Many schools in Aden are now occupied IDP’s from Abyan who fled their homes after fighting between the Yemeni military and jihadists.

Some of the students were said to have abandoned their schools as they took part in demonstrations for and against the regime. 

Women attacked

According to the report, women took part in demonstrations for and against the regime. It mentioned that “women activists and journalists were harassed, threatened, and arrested”.

 In addition, some women were subjected to verbal harassment and beatings in public places/sit-ins for their participation in either pro or anti-government protests.  Their male relatives received phone calls asking them to “control” their daughters or sisters. In a conservative country like Yemen, women’s reputation is important for the family.

On 14 April, President Ali Abdullah Saleh spoke out against the mixing of unrelated men and women in protest squares, a statement that caused thousands of women to go out in demonstrations calling on him to retract his statement.

 Some families prevented their women to participate in demonstrations as their “reputation” was defamed, said Amira Saleh, an activist in the Freedom Square.

 Marginalized people are suffering

“African migrants, called Al-Akhdan or servants in Yemen, were also affected by the current situation.” 

According to information received by the delegations, members of this community in Taiz were threatened with destruction of their homes and businesses if they did not participate in demonstrations.

Two boys from this community, a 17 year old and a 14 year old, were reportedly attacked and severely beaten, allegedly because their families supported the government. Two men and another boy from the community were allegedly abducted and beaten with electric cables.


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