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News > Situation of human rights in Yemen

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Situation of human rights in Yemen

New report of Human Rights Council has been published about the Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights containing the findings of the Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts and a summary of technical assistance provided by the Office of the High Commissioner to the National Commission of Inquiry.

Findings of the Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen has been categorized to 6 sections under the main “Violations of International Law”, by order of the report: Attacks affecting civilians, Access restrictions, Arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, Violations of freedom of expression, Sexual violence and Child recruitment and use.

  • Attacks affecting civilians


From March 2015 to June 2018, there were at least 16,706 civilian casualties, with 6,475 killed and 10,231 injured in the conflict; however, the real figure is likely to be significantly higher. Coalition air strikes have caused most of the documented civilian casualties. In the past three years, such air strikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities. The Group of Experts has investigated 13 such incidents by interviewing victims, witnesses and other credible sources; analysing satellite imagery, photographs and videos; and visiting sites in the Hudaydah, Sa’dah and Sana’a governorates.


  • Access restrictions


Restrictions on humanitarian access remained a critical constraint in Yemen. International humanitarian law requires all parties to the conflict to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, including medicine, food and other survival items. The coalition has imposed severe naval and air restrictions in Yemen, to varying degrees, since March 2015, citing the arms embargo provisions of Security Council resolution 2216 (2015). Prior to the conflict, Yemen imported nearly 90 per cent of its food, medical supplies and fuel.


  • Arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and ill‑treatment


Investigations by the Group of Experts confirm widespread arbitrary detention throughout the country, and ill-treatment and torture in some facilities. In most cases, detainees were not informed of the reasons for their arrest, were not charged, were denied access to lawyers or a judge and were held incommunicado for prolonged or indefinite periods. Some remain missing. Parties to the conflict are using undeclared detention facilities in an apparent, and if confirmed unlawful, attempt to put detainees outside the reach of the law.


In detention, during interrogation and while blindfolded and/or handcuffed, detainees were beaten, electrocuted, suspended upside down, drowned, threatened with violence against their families and held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods in violation of the absolute prohibition on torture, cruel or inhuman treatment. Reports indicate poor material conditions and grossly inadequate medical care for detainees. The Group has also received allegations of deaths in custody.





  • Violations of freedom of expression


The Group of Experts has reasonable grounds to believe that, since September 2014, the coalition have severely restricted the right to freedom of expression. In addition, human rights defenders have faced relentless harassment, threats and smear campaigns from the coalition forces, including those of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


  • Sexual violence


New levels of sexual violence have proliferated in Yemen since September 2014. The already limited capacity to address sexual and gender-based violence in the criminal justice system has collapsed. Survivors are re-victimized. New vulnerabilities have emerged from displacement, poverty and indiscriminate violence. Women, children and men are at serious risk of all forms of sexual violence and there is limited space to pursue protection and justice.


  • Child recruitment and use


The Secretary-General reported 842 verified cases of recruitment and use of boys as young as 11 years old in Yemen in 2017 (see A/72/865-S/2018/465).

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