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Yemen

The information below addresses relevant human rights dimensions for Security Council deliberations on Yemen.


There is strikingly little information about the current human rights situation in Yemen on OHCHR's website, although it was defined at one point "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world." This can be explained by this statement from Human Rights Watch:

There has been virtually no accountability for violations committed by parties to the conflict. Since the UN Human Rights Council narrowly voted to end the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen in October 2021, there has been no independent international entity to monitor the human rights situation in Yemen and lay the foundation for accountability for widespread abuses.

Human Rights Watch criticized the international community for failing to adequately support local civil society and accountability and justice mechanisms. The organization referred to the the Yemen Declaration for Justice and Reconciliation (noted below), which seeks to address this gap in accountability for the grievances caused by the war by identifying a set of principles to guide the post-conflict justice process. 


Key topics below

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  1. Death sentences for homosexuality (6 February 2024).

  2. Recommendations by Justice for Yemen Pact (24 January 2024).

  3. HRW reacted to Houthi attacks in Red Sea and called attention to water blockade on Taizz (19 January 2024).

  4. National Commission (NCIAVHR) reported on its 2023 activities (1 January 2024).

  5. Civil society provided overview of situation in joint statement (10 December 2023).

  6. HRC adopted resolution listing violations and calling for women's participation (12 October 2023).

  7. Human rights experts recalled concerns related to persecution based on religion or belief (19 June 2023).

  8. High Commissioner called for accountability and women's participation (7 March 2023).

  9. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted concluding observations (3 March 2023).

  1. The Yemen Declaration for Justice and Reconciliation.

  2. Recommendations by NGO Working Group on WPS.

  3. Comments by Watchlist on CAAC and recalling Security Council's demand to end child recruitment (resolution 2216(2015)).

  1. Security Council press statement SC/15513 of 1 December 2023.


 

Relevant information for the Security Council to consider [682 words]

  1. On 6 February 2024, a Huthi-run court has sentenced 13 people to public execution on homosexuality charges. Three others were jailed on similar charges and 35 other individuals have been detained.

  2. On 24 January 2024, the Justice for Yemen Pact released a statement, noting that 400 attacks on schools were documented during the past four years. Nearly half of girls of primary school age are deprived of education and two out of three women in Yemen are illiterate. They called to have criminal accountability mechanisms; protect children from recruitment into the armed forces; immediately release all children and ensure their rehabilitation and integration into society; and for the Houthis to refrain from ideological amendments on the school’s curriculum.

  3. On 19 January 2024, Human Rights Watch released a statement in the context of Houthi missile strikes against civilian ships and crews in the Red Sea, which may amount to war crimes. HRW called for greater attention to be paid to how the Houthis block water from reaching civilians in Taizz. "Houthis’ claims of demonstrating their moral stance against Israel’s blockade of Gaza—which has put Palestinian civilians at grave risk and is a war crime —is a hollow one while they unlawfully besiege Yemen’s third largest city," the organization stated.

  4. On 1 January 2024, the National Commission to Investigate Alleged Violations of Human Rights (NCIAVHR) reported on its activities in 2023. During that year, the Commission conducted more than 12 hearings to verify the effects of mine explosions, suppression of freedom of opinion and expression, and forced displacement. These hearings documented the stories of victims, including journalists, women and victims of mutilation and gender-based violence.

  5. On 10 December 2023, several local and international organizations released a joint statement providing an overview of the situation and a detailed list of recommendations. They noted that according to the Mothers of the Abductees’ Association, nearly 10,000 civilians have been arbitrarily detained by all parties.

  6. On 12 October 2023, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 54/29 on technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights. The resolution was led by the Arab Group and adopted without a vote. The Council expressed concern about a range of human rights violations, such as attacks against civilian objects, violence against journalists and detention of political activists, as well as recruitment of children. It also called to ensure the full participation of women in the political and peacemaking process [OP11-14].

  7. On 19 June 2023, following the abduction of 16 Baháʼís, human rights experts released a joint statement recalling their concern about patterns of violations that depict a scenario of targeted persecution of religious minorities in Yemeni areas controlled by the Houthis. They expressed concerns about arbitrary detention; torture; death sentences for professing their religion in judicial proceedings that failed to meet fair trial guarantees; hate speech; and violation of the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, of peaceful assembly and of association.

  8. On 7 March 2023, the High Commissioner for Human Rights stated about Yemen: "For any peace agreement to be durable, transitional justice and accountability are fundamental, and women must be able to participate fully in such talks."

  9. On 3 March 2023, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted its concluding observations on Yemen's report: "The Committee is deeply concerned about the systematic and gross violations of the Covenant in the situation of the armed conflict, including war crimes, such as attacks on, and destruction, removal or rendering useless of, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population with respect to the provision of food and water; attacks against medical units and means of transport; deliberate attacks against schools and hospitals; sexual violence; and the conscription or enlistment of children under 15 years of age into armed forces or groups, or using them to participate actively in hostilities..." [para 6] "...The Committee is particularly concerned about attacks from all parties to the conflict on civilian infrastructure critical to realizing economic, social and cultural rights, such as healthcare facilities, schools, and food and water infrastructure, including farms, irrigation works and fishing boats." [para 7]

 

Information familiar to the Security Council [361 words]

The Yemen Declaration for Justice and Reconciliation

  1. The declaration presented by civil society sets out principles for advancing human rights and achieving a just, inclusive, and sustainable peace for Yemen. Guiding principles: > Inclusivity and Participation > Victim-Centred Approach > Gender equality and inclusivity > Truth and memorialization > Redress and Reparations > Accountability > Reconciliation, social cohesion, and prevention of future violence > Solidarity and universality of human rights > Respect for local laws, customs, and traditions Grievances: The declaration calls to address a list of grievances, inter alia airstrikes targeting civilian areas; torture; enforced disappearances and abductions; arbitrary detention; populations' forced displacement; discrimination and persecution based on gender, religion and social group; sexual and gender-based violence; recruitment of children; child marriage; forced starvation and lack of access to clean water; and targeting of the educational and healthcare system and their staff.

Women, Peace and Security

  1. The NGO Working Group on WPS called to base discussions on Yemen on gender-sensitive conflict analysis. Security Council members should articulate their unwavering support for an inclusive Yemeni-led political process with the full, equal and meaningful participation of diverse women, youth and civil society of all political backgrounds from all regions of Yemen.

  2. The organization noted that women and girls face restrictions on their freedom of movement, resulting from the requirement that women be accompanied by a mahram (male guardian), lack of access to basic services, including higher education and sexual and reproductive health services, and threats and risks, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, hate speech and even targeted killings, particularly for women human rights defenders and journalists.

Children and Armed Conflict

  1. The NGO Watchlist on CAAC provided recommendations and noted that four parties to conflict are listed in the annexes of the SG’s 2023 annual report on CAAC for recruiting and using children. Of these, the Houthis are also listed for killing and maiming children and attacks on schools and hospitals.

  2. To recall, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, the Security Council demanded in its resolution 2216(2015) that the Houthis immediately and unconditionally end the recruitment and use of children and release all children from their ranks [OP1(g)].

 

References in Security Council outcomes (not verbatim) [64 words]

  1. Security Council press statement SC/15513 of 1 December 2023:

  • Condemned in the strongest terms recent Houthi attacks against a commercial vessel in the Red Sea;

  • Called for the immediate release of the vessel MV Galaxy Leader and its crew;

  • Underlined the importance of the navigational rights and freedoms of all vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, in accordance with international law.

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