The Republic of Yemen


Human Rights Overview

The UN-brokered six months truce ended in October 2022. According to the UN during this six months, the casualties due to war decreased by 60%. Since the end of truce there have been an uptick in infighting between different groups.

All parties to the conflict carried out arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, harassment, torture and other ill-treatment, and unfair trials of individuals, targeted solely for their political, religious or professional affiliations, or for their peaceful activism. Parties perpetrated gender-based violence and discrimination. All parties to the conflict contributed to environmental degradation. Death sentences have been handed down and executions carried out.

In December 21, the Red Cross said that it had conducted rare visits to thousands of prisoners on both sides of Yemen’s eight-year civil war.


Unlawful Attacks and Killings

All parties to the conflict have commit serious violations of international humanitarian law with impunity, including indiscriminate attacks which killed and injured civilians and destroyed and damaged civilian objects, including food distribution facilities.

On March 21, 2021 in Hodeidah governorate, two air strikes hit Salif grain port, damaging facilities and injuring five employees. On June 14, 2021 in Khamir district, Amran governorate, two poultry farms were hit by missiles that the UN GEE concluded were likely fired by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. The UN GEE expressed concern that the coalition was failing to take all feasible measures to protect civilians.

Huthi forces continued to use imprecise heavy weaponry. Throughout March 2021, they regularly fired such weaponry into the Meel, Tawasol and Kheir camps for internally displaced people, close to Ma’arib city, 1-3km from the front line. This killed six women and three children. On April 3, 2021 in Rawda neighborhood, Ma’arib city, a rocket launched from a Huthi-controlled area killed one boy and one man and injured three boys. The UN GEE concluded that these attacks amounted to war crimes.

In Hodeidah, government forces occupied the Thabit Brothers food production facility, using it for military purposes and therefore rendering it a military target. On 6 and 19 June 2021, Huthi forces shelled the facility, causing civilian casualties and damaging food production and water supply.

In Aden, a governorate controlled by STC forces, there were 38 assassinations or attempted assassinations of civilians in 2021, according to SAM for Rights and Liberties. On September 8, 2021 at al-Farsha checkpoint, Tur al-Bahah, Lahij governorate, STC forces stopped and killed a doctor. On October 4, 2021 unidentified armed men at another checkpoint in Tur al-Bahah, in an area controlled by STC forces, stopped and killed a nurse working for Doctors Without Borders.


Arbitrary Detention, Torture and unfair Trials

All parties to the conflict continued to detain, forcibly disappear and torture individuals on the basis of their political, religious or professional affiliations, their peaceful activism or their gender. Huthi de facto authorities continued to arbitrarily detain hundreds of migrant men, women and children, mostly Ethiopian and Somali nationals, in poor conditions for indefinite periods in Sana’a city.

On May 29, 2022, the appeal session for four Yemeni journalists sentenced to death, namely, Akram al-Walidi, Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hareth Hamid, and Tawfiq al-Mansouri, took place before the Huthi-run Specialized Criminal Appeals Division in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital.

Since their arrest in 2015, the Huthi authorities have arbitrarily detained Akram Al-Walidi, Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq Al-Mansouri without charge or trial for more than four years; subjecting them to a range of human rights abuses including forcible disappearance, intermittent incommunicado detention and solitary confinement, beatings and denial of access to medical care. The Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a sentenced them to death in April 2020 after an unfair trial; a verdict that the defendants have since been appealing. Amnesty International calls on the Huthi de facto authorities to quash the death sentences – issued following a grossly unfair trial – and order the immediate release of the four journalists. The 28 years old journalist Younis Abdelsalam, who was arbitrarily detained by the Huthi security forces on August 2021, was released on December 7, 2022. During his detention he was ill-treated and never charged.

Huthi de facto authorities continued legal proceedings targeted against Baha’i on the basis of their religion, and froze or confiscated assets belonging to 70 members of the community. They also continued to arbitrarily detain, since March 2016, a Jewish man on the basis of his religion, despite judicial rulings requiring his release.

In early 2021, in Aden, STC forces arbitrarily detained two men for criticizing the STC. In May 2021, in Aden, STC counter-terrorism forces detained a man whose fate remained unclear at this time . In September 2021, they abducted four university students returning from a trip abroad, while they were transiting Aden airport. They were released at the end of September.


Gender-Based Violence and Discrimination

All parties to the conflict continued to impose and exploit patriarchal gender norms, used gender-based violence and discrimination to further their objectives, and maintained a wide range of discriminatory and oppressive customary and statutory legal provisions. Yemen was ranked second to worst in the 2021 Global Gender Gap Index.

Huthi de facto authorities continued their campaign of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance of women and girls, particularly women human rights defenders and those perceived to be challenging Huthi- enforced gender norms. In 2021 alone, they detained at least 233 women and girls in facilities in Sana’a, accusing them of supporting the coalition, “sex work” or crimes of “immoral acts”. Women, girls and LGBTI people in these facilities have in the past been subjected to systematic torture, including rape and other forms of sexual violence; cruel and inhuman treatment; and forced recruitment. In February 2021, in Sana’a, Huthi de facto authorities arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared actress and model Intisar al- Hammadi. During her detention, she was interrogated while blindfolded, and physically and verbally abused. On May 5, 2021 Huthi authorities asked her to take a “virginity test”, which she refused. In November 2021, she was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of committing an “indecent act”.

In January 2022, the government’s political security forces in Ma’arib arbitrarily arrested a woman because her brother had worked for the Huthis and she later died in custody, according to the Women’s Solidarity Network. In July and August 2021, government armed forces in Ta’iz harassed and assaulted two women human rights defenders, one of them living with disabilities, and accused them of “prostitution” as well as working for the Huthis. In September 2021, according to Mwatana for Human Rights, political security forces in Ma’arib arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared another woman, a human rights activist and humanitarian worker, for a month.


Freedoms of Expression and Association

All parties continued to curtail free speech and assembly of human rights defenders, journalists, political opponents and perceived critics.

Journalists across the country have faced increasing risks. In June 2022, a bomb planted in the car of Saber al-Haidari, a reporter with the Japanese state broadcaster NHK, which he was driving in the southern port city of Aden, killing him at the scene. In November 2021, journalist Rasha Abdullah a-Harazi was killed in a car bomb attack while she was driving in the southern port city of Aden. According to report, she was pregnant at the time. Her husband, Mahmoud al-Atmi, who is also a journalist, was seriously injured in the blast.

The Huthi de facto authorities are continuing to use repressive tactics to suppress the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, and silence peaceful dissent in areas under their control. Amnesty International has examined the cases of three imprisoned journalists subjected to detention-related violations and unfair trials between 2015 and 2022, the case of a journalist who was arbitrarily detained for over a year and then released in December 2022, four other journalists who continued to face the death penalty following grossly unfair trial, and the crackdown on six radio stations by the Huthis in January 2022.

Throughout September 2021, peaceful protests were staged against the government and STC in Aden, Ta’iz and southern governorates, demanding they address the economic crisis and deteriorating living conditions. According to Mwatana for Human Rights, the government and STC violently repressed these protests, including with gunfire and grenades. This resulted in STC forces in Aden killing one man and injuring three boys, and government forces killing a man and a boy and injuring another boy in Hadramout governorate, as well injuring a man in Ta’iz. The survivors all sustained life-changing injuries.


Environmental Degradation

Parties to the conflict were responsible for environmental degradation across Yemen through poor governance, cancelling programming, neglect of legally protected areas, mismanagement of oil infrastructure, and placing economic pressure on civilians. Yemenis resorted to environmentally damaging coping mechanisms, including reliance on charcoal, unsustainable fishing and unsustainable development. This resulted in increased pollution, deforestation, soil erosion and loss of biodiversity, which adversely impacted enjoyment of the rights to health, food and water.

In June 2021, at Bir Ali oil terminal, Shabwa governorate, mismanagement of oil infrastructure led to a pipeline discharging oil into the sea for four days, close to an environmentally sensitive coastline.

In February 2022, Special UN envoy to Yemen announced agreement with Huthi to transfer 1.14 m barrels of oil from FSO Safer to another ship. The tanker is located 37 miles north of Yemeni port of Hodeidah. The possible risk of spilling its cargo, would have devastating consequences for the biologically sensitive Red Sea coastline, as well as water scarcity, health, and the food security and livelihoods of millions of Yemenis and Eritreans reliant on Red Sea fishing. In September the UN announced that it has collected $75 million needed to start the first phase of operation. The operation expected to start before the end of year (2022).


Death Penalty

In 2021, over 298 death sentences were handed down and 14 executions took place.

Yemen Newsroom

December 2, 2019 • Report

War and Exclusion in Yemen Leave Millions of People with Disabilities in the Lurch

Millions of people with disabilities in Yemen have not only endured years of armed conflict but are also among those most excluded amid what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International said today.

February 26, 2019 • Report

Human rights in the Middle East and North Africa: A review of 2018

The international community’s chilling complacency towards wide-scale human rights violations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has emboldened governments to commit appalling violations during 2018 by giving them …

July 11, 2018 • Report

Disappearances and torture in southern Yemen detention facilities must be investigated as war crimes

Justice remains elusive a year after a network of secret prisons was first exposed in southern Yemen, Amnesty International said in a new report today that documents egregious violations going unchecked, including systemic enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment amounting to war crimes.

June 21, 2018 • Report

Yemen: Restrictions to life-saving supplies putting millions of civilians at risk

Millions of lives are at risk because the entry of essential goods such as food, fuel and medical supplies into war-torn Yemen is being restricted by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition …

April 18, 2018 • Report

Trump threat puts European role in lethal US drone strikes under new scrutiny

As the Trump administration prepares to further expand the US’s lethal drone program, increasing the risk of civilian casualties and unlawful killings, Amnesty International is calling on four European countries …

May 16, 2016 • Report

Where is my father: Detention and disappearance in Huthi-controlled Yemen

The Huthi armed group, supported by state security forces, has carried out a wave of arrests of its opponents, arbitrarily seizing critics at gunpoint and subjecting some to enforced disappearance as part of a chilling campaign to quash dissent in areas of Yemen under its control, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

August 18, 2015 • Report

‘Nowhere Safe for Civilians’: Airstrikes and Ground Attacks in Yemen

Civilians in Yemen are bearing the brunt in the conflict raging between Huthi militias (and army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh), who seized control of the capital and large parts of the country September 2014, and anti-Huthi armed groups (and army units loyal to exiled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi), who are supported by a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 30, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Yemen 2013

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 …