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HRC27: Key human rights challenges in Yemen

September 2014
In the last three-an-a-hal! years" Yemen has e#perience signi!icant p$litical an s$cial e%el$pments&
'he massi%e pr$tests $! 2011 !inally resulte in the resignati$n $! (resient Saleh in )$%ember 2011"
*hen he signe the agreement br$+ere by the ,ul! C$$perati$n C$uncil -,CC.& 'he r$a-map
ass$ciate *ith it in%$l%es a series $! measures t$ be implemente in $rer t$ guarantee an e!!ecti%e
p$litical transiti$n& In parallel" Yemen has been sub/ecte t$ the attenti$n $! the Human Rights C$uncil
-0)HRC. an has ta+en s$me steps t$ impr$%e the human rights situati$n in the c$untry& 1$r instance"
it has implemente s$me $! the rec$mmenati$ns mae uring its !irst 0(R -2002.& Yemen has als$
signi!icantly strengthene c$$perati$n *ith the 0) an all$*e the establishment $! an 3HCHR !iel
0)HRC res$luti$ns 14512 -2011. an 12522 -2012. ac+n$*lege the g$%ernment6s c$$perati$n *ith
the 3HCHR an steps ta+en b$th t$ ensure acc$untability !$r %i$lati$ns an t$ impr$%e the human
rights situati$n in Yemen" *hile in%iting partners t$ assist the transiti$nal pr$cess& Res$luti$n 21522
-2012. !urther enc$urage Yemen t$ pursue re!$rms" appreciating the establishment $! a c$mmittee t$
in%estigate human rights %i$lati$ns that $ccurre in 2011& 'he last C$uncil res$luti$n $n Yemen -24572
in 2017. *as m$re substanti%e $n the issues t$ be aresse" !r$m acc$untability t$ %i$lence against
/$urnalists" !air trial guarantees" %i$lati$ns $! chilren6s an $! *$men6s rights" an arbitrary etenti$ns&
8astly" in 9une 2014" a series $! rec$mmenati$ns *ere aresse t$ Yemen at the $ccasi$n $! the
Yemen has been !acing a ire humanitarian crisis an challenging p$litical an security issues& 'his has
c$ntribute t$ c$mpr$mise the p$litical transiti$n but the Yemeni g$%ernment" espite s$me imp$rtant
e%el$pments such as the )ati$nal :ial$gue C$n!erence" has als$ !aile t$ implement s$me +ey
measures& 'he ne#t milest$ne in the transiti$nal pr$cess is the ra!ting an a$pti$n $! a ne*
C$nstituti$n& 'his is a crucial $pp$rtunity t$ ma+e c$ncrete s$me pleges ta+en by the Yemeni
g$%ernment in $rer t$ ensure that the ne* C$nstituti$n guarantees internati$nal human rights
stanars& 'he Human Rights C$uncil has a +ey r$le in this regar&
C$$perati$n bet*een Yemen an 3HCHR has $!ten been cite as an e#ample& H$*e%er" many
challenges remain& In terms $! acc$untability an guarantees $! n$n-repetiti$n" the establishment $! an
inepenent c$mmissi$n t$ in%estigate the human rights %i$lati$ns perpetrate uring the 2011 e%ents
*as ann$unce $%er three years ag$& 'he c$mmissi$ners are still t$ be app$inte& 'he transiti$nal
/ustice la* has yet t$ be a$pte& 'he ra!t la* still !ails t$ !ully guarantee the right t$ e!!ecti%e remey
!$r %ictims& 'he ;mnesty 8a* that grants immunity t$ th$se resp$nsible !$r seri$us human rights
%i$lati$ns remains in !$rce& <$re$%er" the situati$n $! *$men6s rights" as *ell as $! !ree$m $!
e#pressi$n" peace!ul assembly an ass$ciati$n" remains ire& ;ttac+s $n /$urnalists an human rights
e!eners are $ng$ing" the acti%ities $! ci%il s$ciety $rgani=ati$ns are restricte& 'he eath penalty is
use !$r a *ie series $! $!!ences" an it enemic use" as *ell as $ther gra%e human rights %i$lati$ns"
is $! utm$st c$ncern& 'his has been uner-aresse by the C$uncil&
0)HRC initiati%es $n Yemen sh$ul re!lect b$th pr$gress rec$re an remaining challenges& 'he
res$luti$n t$ be a$pte uner item 10 uring HRC 27 in September 2014" *hile being an $pp$rtunity
t$ re!lect $n the !$rmer" sh$ul als$ inclue m$re substanti%e language $n the latter in $rer t$
enc$urage the Yemeni auth$rities" *ith 3HCHR assistance" t$ !ul!il their $bligati$ns t$ pr$tect the m$st
%ulnerable gr$ups" t$ c$mbat impunity" an t$ uph$l e#pressi%e rights& It sh$ul als$ rec$mmen the
establishment $! an internati$nal inepenent c$mmissi$n $! in>uiry t$ carry $ut in%estigati$n int$
human rights %i$lati$ns c$mmitte in relati$n t$ the 2011 em$nstrati$ns" an call $n the ,$%ernment
$! Yemen t$ !ully c$$perate *ith it&
Accountability and end of impunity:
<assi%e human rights %i$lati$ns c$mmitte in 2011 ha%e neither been in%estigate n$r pr$secute&
1I:H $cumente human rights %i$lati$ns c$mmitte uring this peri$ by g$%ernment !$rces incluing
e#cessi%e use $! !$rce resulting in eath? arbitrary arrest an etenti$n? !$rce isappearances? acts $!
t$rture an ill-treatment? an pre%enting the in/ure !r$m accessing meical care&
; (resiential ecree *as passe in September 2012 establishing a nati$nal c$mmissi$n $! in>uiry int$
the 2011 %i$lati$ns& 'he c$ncrete establishment $! this c$mmissi$n has been c$ntinu$usly elaye an
members are yet t$ be app$inte& @y elaying an neglecting the acc$untability pr$cess" the Yemeni
auth$rities n$t $nly epri%e the %ictims $! /ustice but !ail t$ sen a clear message $! acc$untability !$r
th$se resp$nsible $! such crimes& Yet acc$untability c$ntributes t$ guarantees $! n$n-repetiti$n&
'he (resient $! Yemen set up a c$mmissi$n t$ in%estigate the e%ents that $ccurre in :ecember 2017
in the :hale6e g$%ern$rate" *here military $perati$ns resulte in the eath $! ci%ilians& 'he absence $!
public in!$rmati$n regaring the !inings $! this in%estigati$n c$mmissi$n c$ntributes t$ >uesti$n the
*illingness an capacity $! the Yemeni auth$rities t$ she light $n human rights %i$lati$ns an ensure
'he lac+ $! transparent in%estigati$ns an $! acc$untability hamper the rights $! the Yemeni pe$ple t$
see the perpetrat$rs punishe" t$ +n$* the truth" an t$ recei%e reparati$ns& Yet these are central
elements $! the transiti$nal pr$cess initiate by Yemen since 2012& ; l$ng-a*aite amene ra!t 8a*
$n transiti$nal /ustice *as submitte t$ the Cabinet last <ay& ;cc$ring t$ in!$rmati$n recei%e" the
ra!t la* !$ll$*s the rec$mmenati$ns mae by the 'ransiti$nal 9ustice A$r+ing ,r$up $! the )ati$nal
:ial$gue C$n!erence -):C.
as integrate in the ):C !inal rep$rt a$pte in 9anuary 2014& 'he
*$r+ing gr$upBs rec$mmenati$ns inclue State $bligati$n t$ ahere t$ internati$nal human rights
stanars *ith regars t$ transiti$nal /ustice mechanisms" an t$ ta+e the necessary steps t$ achie%e
transiti$nal /ustice an guarantee n$n-repetiti$n *ithin $ne year& Ahile this c$nstitutes a p$siti%e
e%el$pment" 1I:H !ears a c$ntinuati$n $! the ea-l$c+ regaring agreement $%er the !inal ra!t la*"
particularly in %ie* $! the $ng$ing an increase p$litical tensi$ns $%er the past m$nths&
3n the $ther han" the immunity la* *hich *as passe by the parliament in 9anuary 2012" as a result
$! the ,CC-br$+ere agreement" presents a ma/$r $bstacle t$ transiti$nal /ustice& It n$t $nly c$n$nes
impunity !$r the main auth$rs $! seri$us human rights %i$lati$ns $%er the last ecaes" incluing
thr$ugh$ut 2011" but als$ c$ntra%enes internati$nal human rights stanars&
'he Yemeni auth$rities sh$ul implement" *ith$ut !urther elay" their repeate c$mmitments t$*ars
the internati$nal c$mmunity" in particular the 0)HRC res$luti$ns an m$re recently the $utc$me $! the
0(R pr$cess in 9une 2014 :
Repeal 8a* )$& 1 $! 2012 -$n the ,ranting $! Immunity !r$m 8egal an 9uicial (r$secuti$n.
an guarantee that n$ perpetrat$rs !$r gra%e human rights %i$lati$ns are immune !r$m
Rati!y the R$me Statute $! the Internati$nal Criminal C$urt?
,uarantee that the transiti$nal /ustice la* is in line *ith internati$nal human rights stanars"
incluing ensuring the right t$ truth an /ustice t$ %ictims an guaranteeing that %ictims $!
human rights %i$lati$ns are pr$%ie *ith !ull reparati$ns?
In aiti$n t$ this an ta+ing int$ acc$unt the e#tensi%e elay in e!!ecti%ely establishing a C$mmissi$n
$! In>uiry int$ the 2011 e%ents" *e call up$n the HRC t$:
Cstablish an internati$nal c$mmissi$n $! in>uiry t$ c$nuct an inepenent an impartial
in%estigati$n int$ human rights %i$lati$ns uring the e%ents $! 2011?
an the Yemeni auth$rities t$ :
FIDH, Yemen: Impunity granted, transition at risk, March 2012, available at!"report"e!"vf.pdf.
#he $atio!al Dialog%e &o!fere!ce wa' held betwee! March 201( a!d )a!%ary 201*, a' part of the G&& agreee!t.
#he o%tcoe' of the co!fere!ce, which had to be adopted by co!'e!'%', are the g%ideli!e' for the drafti!g of the
co!'tit%tio!. #he i''%e' that were di'c%''ed i!cl%ded the +o%ther! 'ece''io! i!cli!atio!' a!d +aada, !atio!al
reco!ciliatio!, tra!'itio!al ,%'tice, 'tate b%ildi!g, good gover!a!ce, reb%ildi!g the ary a!d 'ec%rity force', the
'tat%' of 'pecial e!titie', right' a!d freedo', a!d coprehe!'ive, i!tegrated, a!d '%'tai!able develope!t.
agree an !ully c$$perate *ith such a c$mmissi$n?
Ensuring equality and Protection of Women's Rights:
:iscriminati$n against *$men" b$th in la* an practice" is *iesprea in Yemen& 'he (ers$nal Status
8a* -(S8. imp$ses male guarianship !$r all acti%ities incluing marriage" tra%el an ch$ice $! place $!
resience? it als$ all$*s the marriage $! girls bel$* the age $! 1D *ith the c$nsent $! their guarian"
rec$gni=es p$lygamy an n$-!ault i%$rce -khula." *hich re>uires the *$man t$ return her $*ry an
ren$unce all !inancial rights&
'he (enal C$e all$*s reuce sentences !$r Eh$n$ur crimesF -a !ine $r a
ma#imum $ne year impris$nment. an pr$%ies less !inancial c$mpensati$n !$r !emale %ictims&
,ener e>uality an *$men6s rights *ere iscusse *ithin the )ati$nal :ial$gue C$n!erence& 'he
rec$mmenati$ns t$ establish the minimum age $! marriage at 14 years" t$ ban an penali=e early
marriages an guarantee e>uality in c$mpensati$n !$r EiyaF -bl$$ m$ney. are am$ng p$siti%e" but
insu!!icient" $utc$mes $! the ):C& 'he ):C rec$mmene that there sh$ul be n$ iscriminati$n
base $n gener" religi$n" $pini$n" ethnicity" race" pr$!essi$n" an s$cial an ec$n$mic status incluing
in the upc$ming C$nstituti$n& S$me +ey issues pertaining t$ e>uality an *$men6s rights *ere bl$c+e
by p$litical gr$ups" mainly Islamist $nes" such as the inclusi$n $! c$nstituti$nal $r legal pr$%isi$ns
guaranteeing gener e>uality an respect $! internati$nal human rights la* $n *$men6s rights&
In aiti$n t$ the pr$%isi$ns $! the (S8 that c$nstitute a !lagrant iscriminati$n against *$men an girls"
*iesprea gener-base %i$lence is n$t criminali=e in $mestic la*& 'here are n$ legal pr$%isi$ns t$
punish epri%ati$n $! eucati$n" early marriage an !$rce marriage" restricti$ns an c$ntr$l $%er
!ree$m $! m$%ement& ; e!initi$n $! se#ual %i$lence $es n$t e#ist in the (enal c$e an there is n$
criminalisati$n $! physical an psych$l$gical abuse *ithin the !amily" se#ual harassment an abuse $r
!emale genital mutilati$n&
1,< c$ntinues t$ be *iely $cumente in rural an c$astal areas espite a
ecree banning the practice in public h$spitals&
(articipati$n $! *$men in public li!e remains l$*& 'he ):C" *hich inclues 22G *$men in its
membership" has rec$mmene a 70G representati$n $! *$men in all state instituti$ns an electe
b$ies& H$*e%er" there ha%e been n$ c$ncrete measures ta+en t$ e!!ecti%ely increase *$menBs
participati$n in public a!!airs& 'he C$nstituti$nal :ra!ting C$mmissi$n establishe in <arch 2014 an
name by (resiential :ecree inclue $nly 4 *$men $ut $! the 17 members -27&DG.& 'he Yemeni
g$%ernment reshu!!le $! 9une 2014 inclue $nly 2 *$men as ministers& 'he g$%ernment *as
suspene again in September 2014" an at the time $! *riting has n$t yet been re!$rme&
'he Yemeni g$%ernment must ta+e the necessary measures t$ ensure that ):C rec$mmenati$ns
pertaining t$ the a$pti$n $! legislati$ns t$ criminali=e %i$lence against *$men an Eguarantee all ci%il"
p$litical" s$cial" ec$n$mic an cultural rights $! *$men" enable them t$ practice all rights $! e>ual
citi=enship" eliminate iscriminati$n" an pr$tect *$men against all !$rms $! %i$lence an inhumane
practicesF *ill be e!!ecti%ely implemente&
<$re c$ncretely" *e enc$urage the Yemeni auth$rities t$:
;men all iscriminat$ry la*s an pr$%isi$ns" in particular the (ers$nal Status 8a* an (enal
C$e pr$%isi$ns an bring them in line *ith internati$nal human rights stanars $n !ull e>uality
bet*een men an *$men?
For ore i!foratio! 'ee -.oe! a!d the /rab +pri!g: #a0i!g their 1lace23 4March 20125
6!ited $atio!' 7ee! &o%!try /''e''e!t o! 8iole!ce agai!'t .oe!, /%g%'t 2012, available at:
'a+e e!!ecti%e measures t$ c$mbat %i$lence against *$men" incluing e#plicitly criminali=ing
an ensuring that incients $! $mestic %i$lence are in%estigate an th$se resp$nsible hel
acc$untable" an pr$%ie sa!e shelters !$r %ictims $! $mestic %i$lence?
Immeiately pr$hibit !$rce an chil marriages uner the age $! 14" an ensure that %i$lati$ns
*ill be uly in%estigate an pr$secute?
'a+e e!!ecti%e measures t$ ensure the *ie participati$n $! *$men in all areas $! public li!e?
Rati!y the 3pti$nal (r$t$c$l t$ CC:;A?
Protection of fundamental freedoms:
Ci%il s$ciety acti%ists" human rights e!eners an /$urnalists ha%e been increasingly targete !$r their
human rights $r in!$rmati$n acti%ities by state an n$n-state act$rs& 9$urnalists" la*yers an acti%ists
ha%e been +ille $%er the past years& Hassan al :a*la" a la*yer representing %ictims *h$ ie in the
pr$tests $! <arch 14th" 2011" *as murere in his h$use in :ecember 2017& 'he (ublic (r$secuti$n
$pene in%estigati$ns but has yet t$ yiel any result& In 1ebruary 2017" acti%ist ;laa al Khai*ani *as
sub/ecte t$ an attempte assassinati$n *hich le t$ se%eral in/uries& @eatings" insults" threats" an
e!amati$n campaign $! /$urnalists !r$m n$n-state act$rs ha%e been increasingly rep$rte& <ans$ur
;bu ;li an Aael ;l ;bsi *ere physically assaulte ue t$ their acti%ities in m$nit$ring an publishing
in!$rmati$n $n human rights %i$lati$ns& :e!amati$n campaigns" insults an beatings are c$mm$n
practice an the Yemeni auth$rities ha%e neither c$nemne this practice n$r ta+en any measures t$
ensure the pr$tecti$n $! acti%ists $r /$urnalists&
Repressi$n against !ree$m $! in!$rmati$n by the auth$rities has als$ been rep$rte& 'his inclues
threats against meia *$r+ers an sancti$ns against meia $utlets& In 9uly 2014" the auth$rities raie
Yemen 'H" a pri%ate 'H stati$n *ith$ut any legal basis" c$n!iscate the e>uipment" an banne
br$acasting& 'his is still in e!!ect at the time $! *riting& 'he state $*ne ne*spaper" ;l 'ha*ra" /usti!ie
the rai by claiming that Yemen 'H is unlicense? h$*e%er it is imp$rtant t$ n$te that there is n$ la*
$rgani=ing pri%ate 'H stati$ns in Yemen& 'he ):C rec$mmene the pr$hibiti$n $! cl$sure $r
c$n!iscati$n $! meia *ith$ut a c$urt $rer& It !urther enc$urage the a$pti$n $! c$nstituti$nal
pr$%isi$ns !$r the pr$tecti$n $! rights an !ree$ms" such as !ree$m $! e#pressi$n an $pini$n an the
right t$ in!$rmati$n&
:espite an$ther ):C rec$mmenati$n pertaining t$ the right t$ !$rm ass$ciati$ns an trae uni$ns"
acc$ring t$ *hich $nly n$ti!icati$n is re>uire t$ !$rm an ass$ciati$n $r trae uni$n an cl$sure can
$nly be imp$se by /uicial $rers" there has been n$ legal e%el$pment in this regar& <$re$%er"
se%eral g$%ernment empl$yees ha%e been targete by the auth$rities a!ter their emans !$r
establishing inepenent uni$ns& :emans !$r establishing uni$ns !$r g$%ernment instituti$ns ha%e
been re/ecte by se%eral ministries" an leaing acti%ists in%$l%e in the m$bili=ati$n" such as )$!al al
R$!ai an Yasser al 3baii !r$m the <inistry $! 1inance" ha%e been pre%ente !r$m entering the
ministry" enie their salaries" an trans!erre t$ <aa6reb -a t$*n rem$%e !r$m the capital.& <$hame
;l <a+tari" a leaing acti%ist in the Ci%il Ser%ices uni$n *as re!erre !$r aministrati%e in%estigati$n
base $n allege charges $! attempting t$ create an inepenent uni$n&
'a+ing this int$ acc$unt" 1I:H calls up$n the Yemeni g$%ernment t$:
(ut an en t$ acts $! repressi$n" guarantee the pr$tecti$n $! human rights e!eners"
/$urnalists an ci%il s$ciety acti%ists targete !$r the peace!ul e#ercise $! internati$nally
rec$gni=e rights an !ree$m ? ma+e sure that inepenent an impartial in%estigati$ns int$
attac+s against them *ill be launche an that th$se resp$nsible *ill be hel acc$untable?
,uarantee the right t$ !ree$m $! e#pressi$n" $pini$n an assembly as *ell as the right t$
in!$rmati$n" in practice an in la*" an rec$gni=e these rights in the c$nstituti$n an the
$mestic legislati$n&