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In Monthly State of HR,News,Statements

December 2017 State of Human Rights in Yemen

SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties, has been issuing monthly reports throughout the past 12 months, on the human rights violations that our monitors managed to document in Yemen by different parties. As you noticed, and some of may have lived it, the year 2017 was a catastrophic year and continuation of the war that swept the country since 2014 and till date.

Today, we are publishing our last monthly report, hoping that we will publish our annual one very soon, and we understand the great responsibility that lies with us in documenting today’s incidents for the future, and we exert all our efforts to provide unbiased information for all concerned parties.

Within this context, we would like to express our appreciation for our monitors in the field, who sometimes sacrifice their own safety to monitor and document the violations, and work in highly risk environment without protection, here we would like to indicate that two of our monitors are still under enforced disappearance, where in Hadhramout, Hadhrami Elite is still detaining Ali Baqtiyan since 8 January 2017,   and in Dhamar, Houthis militia is detaining lawyer Ali Al-Ansi, since 14 July 2017.

We are aware that, to maintain objectivity and to take the side of the most vulnerable, in a highly polarized environment is the costly stand, however, we confirm that operate without any pre-assumptions or political affiliation, and we consider violations regardless of the perpetrators’ political or regional affiliation.

During December 2017, SAM has documented 1937 violations, included extra-legal killing, physical assaults violation to press freedom, arbitrary detention, unlawful confiscation, enforced displacement, and torture, perpetrated by Houthis militia, Arab Coalition air force, military formations and groups loyal to the legitimate government.

Houthis militia committed 1405 violations, Arab Coalition airstrikes 466, and 27 violations by groups loyal to the government and armed groups in Taiz and Aden, and 10 violations were unclaimed however were perpetrated in areas under legitimate government control.

During December, millions of Yemenis are still displaced, public servants are deprived of their salaries since last year, and thousands of Al-Wafi inhabitants live under tragic conditions, due to Houthis’ siege for eight months.

It is worth noting that the documented violations reflect a representative segment of the actual situation, and reflects what SAM monitors managed to document, according to monitoring standards that the organization apply.

December Incidents in Sana’a:

Last month, December witnessed a serious deterioration in political freedoms, due to the conflict and fighting between Houthis militia and forces loyal to the former president Saleh, that led to the killing of Saleh and arbitrary detention and extra-legal killing of hundreds of the Peoples’ General Congress members, in addition to demolish and looting of many houses and premises of the PGC. Many of PGC members left Sana’a to the areas under legitimate government control in Aden, Mareb and other Arab cities. SAM has published a special report on the incidents on 7 and 25 December 2017.

Violation of the Right to Life:

SAM organization has monitored and documented 450 killings of civilians during December, including 279 killed by Arab Coalition’s airstrikes; 88 in Taiz, 56 in Sa’da, 47 in Sana’a, 30 in Shabwa, 10 in Mareb, including 19 women. In addition to 121 civilians killed by Houthis militia; 60 in Sana’a, 31 in Shabwa, 30 in Taiz, also, 11 killed by the legitimate government forces and 7 by an unknown group.

SAM organization also, documented extra-legal killing in Houthis controlled areas, and in Aden governorate. Also, mines killed 9 civilians in Taiz and Shabwa governorates.

Violation of the Right to Physical Integrity:

SAM organization has documented 447 injured civilians during December, including 35 women, and 74 children most of them in Sana’a, Taiz, Sa’da, Dhamar, and Hodiedah governorates, and majority of casualties (199) were attributed to the mines and indiscriminate shelling by Houthis militia on residential areas in Taiz, followed by Arab Coalition airstrikes (146).

Arbitrary Detention:

Thousands of Yemeni civilians are under arbitrary detention at Houthis militia’s prisons in Sana’a and other areas under their control, in addition to hundreds of civilians in Security Belt and Hadhrami Elite prisons in Aden and Hadhramout. SAM has documented 155 new cases of arbitrary detention, 144 by Houthis militia; in Sana’a, Dhamar, Al-Mahwet, Amran, and Hajjah, including journalists and activists, 30 by security forces in Aden and Shabwa.

Violations of Child Rights:

SAM organization has noticed the worrying increase in the violations against children during December, mainly in Sana’a and Hodiedah governorates, with child recruitment topping the list of violations, where the organization has received reports on child disappearance for their schools, and documented instructions from Houthis leaders calling for “enforced recruitment” to supply the front. SAM also, documented names of leaders, schools and camps mobilized to receive children in Ibb and Hajjah Governorates. Other violations of child rights included the killing of 84 children, and injuring of 74 others, due to Houthis indiscriminate shelling, and Arab Coalition airstrikes that failed to avoid residential areas.

Violations against Women:

SAM organization has documented 74 violations against women, including 37 killings, and 30 injuries among women, in addition to the detention of two women and assault on one, by Houthis militia, also, displacement of a number of women in Al-Haima village, Taiz by Houthis militia.

Mines:

Landmines continue to threaten civilians’ life in areas of previous confrontations, while Houthis militia continued using landmines widely, without proper mapping thereby increase the number of landmines victims, where 15 cases of landmines detonation were reported during December, killing nine civilians and injuring 7 others, including six children and two women.

Violations against Journalists and Human Rights Defenders:

SAM has documented continuous violations against journalists and human rights defenders, while 16 journalists remain in Houthis prison in Sana’a, for more than two years, and referred to the unconstitutional specialized penal court for trial, also SAM has documented 70 new violations, in Sana’a, Hodiedah, Taiz and Sana’a city, including looting of 21 media centres affiliated to Peoples’ General Congress, in addition to persecution and detention of 27 journalists. Violations included storming journalists’ and activists’ houses, and physical assaults.

Within this context, activist Ali Baqtiyan is still under enforced disappearance, since 8 January 2017, following his abduction by the UAE backed Hadhrami Elite forces.

Attacks on Public and Private Objects:

SAM has documented 37 attacks on public and private objects, by Houthis militia, in Sana’a, Dhamar, Hajjah, and Amran, mainly belong to PGC members, and demolition of a mosque in Al-Haima, Taiz by Houthis militia.

Violation of the Freedom of Movement:

SAM organization has documented denial of access to Aden governorate to civilians coming mainly from Taiz by Security Belt, for regional reasons, for work or in transit to go abroad via Aden airport the only operating airport in the country.

According to reports received by SAM, security elements in the checkpoints in Addalie and Lahaj, denied access to citizens coming from the northern region, claiming that they are responding to AC instructions, who operates these checkpoints, although such instruction are not confirmed, yet if exist they are illegal and their author shall be accountable.

Blockade and Enforced Displacement of Civilians:

In addition to deteriorated humanitarian situation and displacement of thousands of families, in Sa’da, Al-Jouf, Mareb and Taiz, a new case of displacement was reported in Al-Haima village, Taiz, where 362 families were displaced by Houthis, in addition to blockade on Gabal Habashi villages and prevention of families from returning to their villages in Mocha, Zu Baba by legitimate forced led by UAE, and leaving them without needed aids.

Recommendations:

  • SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties condemn all crimes included in this report which are considered as gross violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights law.
  • Urges the UN and humanitarian organizations to provide immediate aids to the displaced civilians and to work to lift the blockade off Bilad Al-Wafi immediately and without conditions;
  • Urges Arab Coalition to avoid targeting civilians and to review its rules of combat in accordance with the international laws and conventions.
  • SAM organization calls to spare children from ravages of war and calls upon the international community to take serious stand against child recruitment which is increasing alarmingly,
  • Urges the Arab Coalition to express its stand on the violation of the freedom of movement by forces alleged to have received its instruction from the Coalition.

SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties,

16 January 2018, Geneva