Annual Report: Yemen 2013

Report

Annual Report: Yemen 2013

View More Research

Republic of Yemen

Head of state Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi (replaced Ali Abdullah Saleh)

Head of government Mohammed Salim Basindwa

The human rights situation improved during the transition that followed the 2011 uprising which ousted former President Saleh from power. However, there was an ongoing lack of information about the fate of those arrested or disappeared during 2011. Impunity for human rights violations committed during President Saleh's government was entrenched by a new immunity law, and most killings of protesters and other human rights violations committed in 2011 and 2012 were not investigated. Justice was also denied to victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law during armed conflicts in parts of the country. Over 20 people arbitrarily arrested during the 2011 uprising and subsequent protests remained in prison or were victims of enforced disappearance. Torture and other ill-treatment continued to be reported. In response to unrest in the South, security forces and groups linked to them used excessive force, killing at least a dozen people, and arbitrarily detained scores of people involved in protests or who supported secession of the South. Ansar al-Shari'a (Partisans of al-Shari'a), an armed group linked to al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) that controlled parts of Abyan governorate until June, committed human rights abuses, including summary killings and amputations. A government military offensive to drive Ansar al-Shari'a out of cities under its control was marked by violations of human rights and international humanitarian law on both sides, resulting in civilian deaths. Women and girls continued to face discrimination in law and practice, and domestic violence. Reports emerged of slavery in some parts of the country. The humanitarian situation reached crisis point. At least seven people were sentenced to death and at least 28 people were executed, including at least two juvenile offenders.

Background

On 25 February, former Vice-President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi was inaugurated as President following presidential elections in which he was the only candidate. The election was required by the power-transfer agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council and signed by former President Saleh on 23 November 2011. The new President, along with the “government of national reconciliation” formed in December 2011, were mandated to implement a two-year transition, during which they were to organize a national dialogue, hold a referendum on a new Constitution, reform the electoral system, restructure the military and security services, and take steps towards transitional justice. General elections in line with the new Constitution were to follow.

An outreach committee set up in May contacted different parties to join the national dialogue. On 14 July, a preparatory committee for the dialogue was formed and subsequently gave President Hadi a list of 20 recommendations to make the dialogue successful. These included an apology to people in the South and the northern Sa'dah province for past violations, and the release of all prisoners detained in connection with the Southern Movement, the Sa'dah conflict and events linked to the 2011 uprising. The recommendations were not implemented by the end of the year. In December, as part of the restructuring of the military, President Hadi announced that the head of the Republican Guards (a son of the former president), the Central Security's Chief of Staff (nephew of the former president), and the commander of the army's First Armoured Division would be removed from their posts.

Despite the stabilizing effects of the transition, there was continuing insecurity, including kidnappings. The killing of lawyer Hassan al-Dawlah in December prompted concerns that he may have been targeted for his work.

There was a deepening humanitarian crisis marked by acute shortages of food, water and other necessities, burgeoning unemployment and living costs, and cuts to power and oil supplies. International donors pledged over US$7 billion to help Yemen during its transition but international and Yemeni aid agencies called for more targeted emergency funding to avert the hunger crisis.