Annual Report: Yemen 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Yemen 2010

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Head of state 'Ali Abdullah Saleh
Head of government Ali Mohammed Megawar
Death penalty retentionist
Population 23.6 million
Life expectancy 62.5 years
Head of state 'Ali Abdullah Saleh
Head of government Ali Mohammed Megawar
Death penalty retentionist
Population 23.6 million
Life expectancy 62.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 84/73 per 1,000
Adult literacy 58.9 per cent

The authorities detained thousands of people in connection with protests in the south and elsewhere, and amid renewed fighting in Sa'da in the north. Most of those detained were released or tried. Others, mostly arrested in previous years, were sentenced to death or prison terms after unfair trials before the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC). Torture and other ill-treatment were reported, and there was at least one suspicious death in custody. The authorities failed to investigate these and other violations, including alleged unlawful killings by government forces. The government tightened controls on the media. Women remained subject to discrimination and violence. The authorities afforded protection to refugees and asylum-seekers from Somalia, but forcibly returned terrorism suspects to Saudi Arabia despite the risks they faced there. At least 30 people were executed.

Background

Parliamentary elections scheduled for 2009 were postponed for two years in the face of mounting unrest, protests in the south against alleged discrimination and advocating independence, and an upsurge in fighting in Sa'da Governorate in the north between government forces and members of the Sh'ia minority Zaidi community.

There were continuing attacks by armed groups, including al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula. In March, four South Koreans and a Yemeni man were killed by a bomb explosion in Shibam in Hadhramawt. Three health workers and three children kidnapped by unknown people in June from al-Jumhuriya Hospital in Sa'da were still missing at the end of the year; the government said that the six were still alive, but no further details were available. Three other health workers kidnapped with them, all women, were killed. In December, the government intensified attacks on what they said were al-Qa'ida strongholds, killing scores of people, including children and other relatives of suspects. On 25 December, a failed attempt to blow up a plane over Detroit in the USA drew international attention to al-Qa'ida in Yemen as the Nigerian national involved was reported to have received training in Yemen.

In May, Yemen's human rights record was considered by the UN Human Rights Council under its process of Universal Periodic Review. It urged Yemen to fulfil its human rights obligations, including ending the execution of juvenile offenders.