The rights group says this is “yet another bloody
stain” on Yemen’s human rights record
(NEW YORK) – Yemeni security forces have acted in violation of international human
rights standards by opening fire on peaceful pro-secession protesters in the south
Thursday, resulting in four deaths and dozens of injured, said Amnesty International.
The rights group called for an immediate end to the use of force by Yemeni authorities
against peaceful protesters and to respect their rights to freedom of expression and
Security forces used firearms and tear gas killing two and injuring at least 25, as
thousands of supporters of the Southern Movement, which demands peaceful secession from
the rest of Yemen, gathered in a non-violent sit-in at Al-‘Aroudh Square in Khormaksar,
“In utter disregard for international standards, the Yemeni authorities have
attempted to quash peaceful protests with shocking use of lethal force,” said Hassiba
Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director.
“This is yet another bloody stain on the government’s bleak human rights record.”
In addition to the two killed in the protest, a man from al-Dhal’i was killed and
another seriously injured as security forces opened fire to prevent them from entering
Aden to join the demonstration.
On Wednesday, one man was killed in al-‘Areesh area in Aden when security forces
opened fire on a group of people travelling from Abyan to Aden to take part in today’s
protest. Amnesty International has also received reports that firearms were used against
protesters in the Crater area of Aden.
One eyewitness told the organization that security forces were acting in support of a
counter-march believed to have been organized by the Islah party, a member of the
coalition government. The eyewitness described how the security forces had violently
dispersed a Southern Movement protest around al-‘Aroudh Square as the counter-protesters
occupied the area.
“Not a single person from the Islah march was injured, in fact they were not only
protected, but security forces paved the way for them to occupy the square by opening
fire on the Southern Movement protesters and dispersing them,” said the eyewitness.
Several Aden residents told Amnesty International that security forces deployed
armored vehicles and armed personnel in the city on Wednesday, ahead of the planned
protest. One Southern Movement activist said that it was clear security forces were
intent on disrupting the demonstration. In anticipation of the protest, a number of
people believed to be leaders in the Southern Movement were also arrested Wednesday, in
what one activist said was an obvious attempt to derail the protest.
“Prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations must be carried out into
all deaths and injuries of protesters in recent days,” said Hadj Sahraoui. “Amnesty
International’s warnings to the Yemeni security forces yesterday not to use unnecessary
or excessive force against peaceful protesters have fallen on deaf ears.”
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist
organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists, and volunteers in more than
150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and
exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever
justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.