Yemen Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
Protestors in several cities came under attack by the security forces and other pro-government demonstrators. At least 100 people have been killed during peaceful demonstrations in various cities in Yemen since early February 2011.
Torture and other ill-treatment are widespread practices in Yemen and are committed, generally with impunity, against both detainees held in connection with politically motivated acts or protests and ordinary criminal suspects.
Amnesty International has longstanding concerns about the use of the death penalty in Yemen, particularly as death sentences are often passed after proceedings, which fall short of international standards for fair trial.
Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice and were inadequately protected against domestic and other violence.
The human rights situation in Yemen has deteriorated rapidly this year. The most shocking manifestation of this has been the brutal repression of protests calling for reform, and increasingly for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down, fuelled by frustration at corruption, unemployment and repression of freedoms in the country. At least 100 people have been killed and large number injured during peaceful demonstrations in various cities in Yemen since early February 2011.
The most deadly attack against protesters took place on March 18, when an apparently coordinated sniper attack on protesters in Sana'a reportedly left around 52 people dead and more than 200 wounded. The incident took place following Friday prayers as protesters gathered near Sana'a University and were reported to have been chanting anti-government slogans when at around 1.30pm local time, armed men in plain clothes, believed to be members of the security forces, started shooting live rounds from the top of nearby buildings.
Amnesty International has called on Yemen government to stop its security forces using excessive force after protesters and journalists were reportedly attacked at peaceful demonstrations around the country.
Scores of protesters who were arrested following demonstrations in various cities are being held incommunicado and are at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. Amnesty International is concerned that they may be held solely for the peaceful expression of their right to freedom of expression and assembly. The Yemeni authorities must release all the people who have been detained as a result of their participation in peaceful demonstrations.
In the midst of growing call for reforms and changes, the crackdown on freedom of expression has worsened. The Yemeni government has become increasingly intolerant of the independent media and any criticism. Journalists, editors and publishers have been detained, held incommunicado, ill-treated and jailed on spurious charges after unfair trials. Security forces raided newspaper offices and television stations and shot at demonstrators peacefully protesting against repression of free speech. Newspapers have also been suspended and news websites blocked.
Torture and other ill-treatment are widespread practices in Yemen and are committed, generally with impunity, against both detainees held in connection with politically motivated acts or protests and ordinary criminal suspects. Methods of torture and other ill-treatment are reported to include beatings all over the body with sticks, rifle butts, punching, kicking, prolonged suspension by the wrists or ankles, burning with cigarettes, being stripped naked, denial of food and prompt access to medical help, as well as threats of sexual abuse.
Torture and other ill-treatment are often carried out as a means of obtaining "confessions" during interrogation. The court generally accepts such "confessions" without being investigated adequately, if at all. This is despite constitutional guarantees and provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibit the admissibility of such evidence. Most torture and other ill-treatment take place during the initial period of detention by security forces, when detainees are generally not provided access to a lawyer or to their families.
Women in Yemen face systemic discrimination and endemic violence with devastating consequences for their lives. Their rights are routinely violated because Yemeni laws as well as tribal and customary practices treat them as second-class citizens. Women are not free to marry who they want and some are forced to marry when they are children, sometimes as young as eight. Once married, a woman must obey her husband and obtain his permission just to leave the house. Women are valued as half the worth of men when they testify in court or when their families are compensated if they are murdered. They are also denied equal treatment when it comes to inheritance and are often denied it completely. Women are dealt with more harshly than men when accused of "immoral" acts, and men are treated leniently when they murder female relatives in "honor killings". Despite this, recent years have seen some positive developments for women's rights. For example, the government has been engaged with intergovernmental bodies and reported to the UN committee overseeing the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to which Yemen is a party. Most significantly, women themselves have helped to create a vibrant civil society, and women's non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have achieved some success in some campaigns for reforms.
The government continues to use the death penalty extensively and in defiance both of the international trend and its own laws. It continues to use the death penalty against children, the mentally disabled, and often after unfair trials.