Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said that the Houthi group's coup against state institutions and components on September 21, 2014, opened the door to evil wide and plunged the country into chaos, insecurity, denial of rights, and violation of the rights of individuals in a serious and unprecedented manner in modern history. The coup against the will of the people and state institutions is the major crime for which the Houthi group bears its historical and legal responsibility, in addition to the many violations and practices that resulted from it, which, after 8 years, led to the dispelling of the Yemeni dream of a democratic state that protects their rights, preserves their dignity and meets their aspirations.
The organization said in a statement released today, Wednesday, in conjunction with Yemen entering its eighth year of the extended conflict, which began with the Houthi group’s coup against the Yemeni government on September 21, due to which the country has become suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and its lands are being contested by local and regional parties. The Houthi group’s seizure of state institutions and their desire for exclusive power as a divine right according to their claim, Saleh’s revenge on his people after forcing him to give up power, he Arab coalition’s confusion between seeking to achieve its interests and achieving the goals for which it intervened, the blatant inability of the Yemeni government, and the bullying of many armed militias, has led Yemen to the path of a real tragedy that threatens to disintegrate it.
"SAM" stated that it had made a lot of efforts and had counted, during the past seven years, thousands of violations that occurred as a result of the coup of the Houthi group, the division of Yemeni regions, and the military intervention by the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as these events led to more than (7000) civilian deaths, more than (6,188) wounded. The organization also documented more than (1600) victims due to mines and monitored more than (332) air raids of the Arab coalition countries and recorded the arrest and disappearance of more than (10251) and more than (547) victims of torture. It also documented more than (5461) violations of the right of childhood, more than (1352) violations against women, and more than (1200) violations and abuses of press and human rights freedoms.
“SAM” confirmed that thousands of civilians were killed and injured or harmed due to Houthi shells and missiles, in addition to the indiscriminate shelling and the indiscriminate use of landmines since the number of mines planted by the Houthi militia reached more than 2 million, of which 700,000 were detonated without maps. This has ruptured the societal fabric, with freedom of expression, peaceful protest and freedom of movement increasingly restricted, in addition to taking advantage of political and other identity-based divisions by those in power, until that group looted and confiscated more than 3,000 homes and companies under the name of the judicial guard in the capital, Sana’a and bombed the homes and institutions of its political opponents. "SAM" organization documented that the Houthi militia blew up more than 950 homes and institutions of people without any justification but only because they had a political and ideological disagreement with that group.
The organization highlighted that the Houthi group topped the list of perpetrators of violations in the country since the Houthi militias target civilians in many governorates and have imposed an illegal siege on many Yemeni cities and governorates until today. Also, to this day, there are in Houthi prisons no less than seven thousand detainees and forcibly disappeared persons, who suffer difficult conditions in detention as a result of torture.
Millions of citizens in general, and in the provinces controlled by the Houthi group - in particular - live in a crisis of food, water and health care. Houthi militias impede the flow of life-saving goods into and around the country, attack critical infrastructure, and redirect goods and proceeds to their coffers and supporters. The organization pointed to the Houthi group’s intensification of its use of the Anti-Terrorism Court as a means to settle political scores, which it often used to issue death sentences on unfounded charges such as espionage and “aiding an enemy state” through illegal trials as the courts of the Houthi group issued more than 300 death sentences against political opponents, in addition to provisions for the confiscation of money and property.
“SAM” pointed out that since the outbreak of the current conflict in March 2015, dozens of people - including journalists, academics, and members of the Baha'i faith - have disappeared and detained, primarily because of their human rights activism or political affiliation and conscientious beliefs. The Houthis’ violations extended to hundreds of journalists and activists. “SAM” documented that the militias committed more than 1,000 violations during five years. This includes the killing of more than 30 journalists, the kidnapping of dozens of journalists and their sentencing to death, including 4 journalists that the militia threatens to execute, according to statements it published during in March of 2021.
The information documented by the organization shows the extent of the suffering experienced by special groups such as women and children, as thousands of Yemeni women suffer due to the restrictions imposed by some armed groups, especially the Houthi group, foremost of which is depriving them of the right to life and a decent life, as well as doubling their family burdens. This information also proved beyond any doubt that the Houthi militia had committed systematic violations against women, including the forced detention of more than 3,600 women and the torture of about 200 women in Houthi detention. “SAM” also documented that the Houthi group has forcibly recruited more than 10,000 child fighters without any regard for legal protection and related international conventions that provide children with full protection and care.
As for the violations practiced by the parties to the conflict, especially the Houthi militia, against detained persons, the organization has monitored, according to testimonies obtained from former detainees, a variety of such practices between beating with sharp tools, weapon butts, the use of electricity, and deliberately making the investigation in the late hours of the night, in addition to the lack of basic needs in these centers and prisons, such as blankets, clothes, food, water, and electricity, let alone extracting confessions that do not conform to reality from hundreds of people, and whoever refuses to make these confessions is tortured until he dies.
“SAM” also monitored the escalation of hate speech used by the Houthi group over the past years, as it relies on a religious discourse that carries the meaning of killing and assault in its operations and its military attack on many civilian neighborhoods, which is evident during the preparation of Houthi forces to attack cities and villages. The organization has documented on more than one occasion an escalation of the threat and vow to kill, which reflects the criminal mentality of that group by using excessive force and unjustified acts of violence against civilians in its military operations, taking advantage of religious and inciting discourse against civilians.
The organization warned that the coup of the Houthi group against the Yemeni government, and the conflict entering its eighth year in a row, had the most dangerous impact on the deterioration of the economic situation due to several factors, the most important of which are: The "Houthi group" looted Yemen's cash reserve of hard currency, which was equal to five billion dollars, in addition to seizing the revenues of state institutions, disrupting the work of banks, and turning to the black market and their money changers to be able to carry out money laundering and transfer operations without restrictions. Moreover, the Houthi group has continued - throughout the years of the war - to collect state revenues in the form of taxes, customs and fees which amount to more than 34% of the total volume of revenues, according to the state’s general budget figures for 2014, in amounts exceeding 4 billion dollars, , in addition to the Houthi group abandoning its responsibilities to pay the salaries of employees in its areas of control or to provide them with any services.
The organization stresses that the consequences of the continuation of the conflict in Yemen and entering its eighth year cannot be limited or summed up in human rights reports or statements of their atrocity and their sheer number. This confirms that Yemen is heading towards an unknown and frightening path at all levels in light of the continued absence of the role of the international community, particularly the United Nations, the Security Council and specialized mechanisms which throughout those previous years had played a negative role that did not rise to the scale and level of crimes and atrocities committed by all parties involved in the Yemeni conflict, which have been documented and briefed by all international bodies.
“SAM” noted that the coup of the Houthi group against state institutions and the intervention of regional parties laid the grounds for a comprehensive collapse in the human rights file in Yemen, especially basic, economic and social rights. It also led to the killing of the Yemeni dream of a civil state that respects rights and freedoms and leads Yemenis towards prosperity.
The organization concluded its statement by emphasizing that all parties to the conflict - especially the Houthi group - bear responsibility for the horrific crimes and violations committed against civilians, noting that the international judicial bodies are required to act quickly and bring the perpetrators and those responsible for those crimes for war crimes and crimes against humanity they committed.
The organization also stresses that the only way to end the current conflict in Yemen begins with achieving justice for Yemeni citizens through holding a comprehensive national conference under the sponsorship of United Nation and international community and that includes all spectrums and components of the Yemeni people in order to end the role of armed militias outside the framework of the law and agree to establish a comprehensive democratic system acceptable to Yemenis as a basis for governance, work to end all forms of conflict and fight and agree on a new constitution that will guarantee all Yemeni rights.