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The Forgotten Land

  
  
  
    
2017-02-15

Executive Summary

During the period between public revolution against president Ali Saleh in 2011, until the coup d’etat against president Abdorabo Mansour Hadi, in 2014, many incidents took place in Yemen at all levels, where war continued in the north between Houthis group and neighboring governorates east of Sa’da in Al-Jouf, west in Hajjah, and to the south in Amran, where Houthis initiated expansion and revenge wars in different directions. War against Al-Qaeda also continued in south and southeast regions, also, sabotages continued in electricity grids, road blocks for gas tankers and goods trucks in different parts of the country. All these incidents destabilized the security situation and organized crimes rate increased dramatically, also many armed outlawed groups were established, leading to deteriorate the security, economic, and political situation and damaged the social fabric of the society.   

SAM organization encountered many challenges and obstacles while preparing this report, namely difficulties in accessing areas under Houthis-Saleh militia’s control, serious threats on monitors’ life and freedom by the militia, in addition to remoteness of areas where violations were committed, and intimidation of people by the militia, if they cooperate with the monitors, who worked under very bad conditions and high risks.   

SAM Organization for Rights and Freedoms grounded its work in monitoring and documenting human rights violations during 2016 contained in this report, on the local legislations; namely the provisions of the constitution of the Republic of Yemen, other relevant laws, and international conventions, in particular international human rights instruments, other conventions related to women and child rights, International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced disappearance, Genève four conventions, in addition to other resolutions related to Yemen and the international customary law.  

This report included several crimes and violations such as killing, enforced disappearance, extralegal killing, indiscriminate attacks against civil objects, which are war crimes and crimes against humanity according to Genève convention and Rome Statute and has no status of limitation, and requires the international community and international human rights institutions to take action to prosecute the perpetrators and bring them to justice.      

Figures mentioned in the report are based on an accurate and systematic filed monitoring that adopts serious verification method, where each figure in the report is supported with complete file contains type of violation, date, place and involved parties, maintained by SAM that could be easily retrieved. Also, verification method followed by SAM is based on several phases; first phase is collecting and analyzing basic information, second; verification of information through field visit and communication with the victims and eyewitnesses and the suspect, if possible, then support the investigation with material evidences such as medical reports and the like.

The report monitors the state of human rights in Yemen during January – December 2016, that witnessed several gross violations to human rights. The report is organized in three chapters;

Chapter One; on human rights violations related to individuals, and contains five sections; first on extralegal killing, where civilians killed during the reporting period has reached 2950 people, including 504 children and 182 women. Many injured are sustained fatal injuries that might lead to death, also lack of adequate medical care due to continued fighting. Responsibility of victims among civilians lays on Houthis – Saleh militia, Arab Coalition airstrikes, terrorism groups and US drones attack. The second section was allocated for injuries, maiming and disability cases, where 6321 casualties were documented during reporting period, including 1384 children, and 438 women. However, this report has documented only violations in areas that our monitors could access and verify.

Section three is on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance, where our documented figures indicated that the total number of arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance cases is 5170, most of whom are in serious conditions, and the perpetrators are Houthis in areas under their control, forces loyal to the legitimate government in Aden (the Security Belt), and Hadhrami Elite Forces in Hadhramout. The report also addresses victims of death under or due to torture, where it documents 47 deaths of civilians under torture or because of torture during the reporting period.

Section four is on extralegal killing, where 45 extralegal killings were document during 2016, in 14 governorates, and Houthis topped the list of responsible parties, in addition to other extremist groups believed to be Al-Qaeda affiliates, and other anonymous groups.

Landmines and IEDs came in section five, where they killed 275 people and injured 394 others, including 9 women and 60 children. Landmines and IEDs also caused disability for many civilians, in Taiz mainly, Mareb, Lahaj and Al-Baidha.

Section one in chapter two of the repost addresses violations to the press freedom where all parties have severely and systematically targeted it, yet with brutal attacks by Houthis and Saleh group, who continued oppression campaign and demolished the narrow margin of press freedom, where no newspaper is allowed to publish, unless that serve as mouthpiece for the militia.

Violations on human rights defenders came in section two of chapter two, where SAM monitors have documented 33 cases of violations against human rights defenders, among lawyers and journalists, varied between abduction, detention, attempted murder, and physical and verbal abuses. SAM organization also documented abductions and assaults on activists by military and security forces loyal to the legitimate government in Aden and Hadhramout. 

Section three of chapter two contained violations to child rights, where according to data and documents received by SAM organization, children have sustained dreadful violations during 2016, primarily to the right to life, and enforced displacement as the highest figure compared to other violations, women violations is addressed in section four of second chapter, where 182 women killed in 2016, including one assassinated, and 438 others were injured and maimed. Section five of the report tackled violations to human rights related to education, where students turned in combatants and schools into barricades, also Houthis militia is changing the curriculum in line with their ideology and racial project.

Section six is about enforced displacement, and SAM organization has documented 9899 cases of displacement, where people were forced to evict their land, houses, and workplace. Last section dealt with violations to human right relevant to economic and livelihood.

Chapter three focused on human rights violations related to civil objects, public and private properties, where SAM organization documented attacks on private properties, and public facilities, either by detonation, seizure, or confiscation, where all parties to the conflict used public facilities such as; schools, sport clubs, and other government institutions for military purposes, in particular Houthi-Saleh group. Violations varied between closure of facilities, raiding hem, suspension or to store weapons and detain abductees. Violations on private properties, included breaking in, looting, detonation and indiscriminate shelling, mainly in Taiz. In general, the report documents 375 attacks on public properties, included houses of worship, education facilities, health facilities, service facilities, archaeological sites, roads and bridges, security, and government premises. Also, 312 cases of raiding, looting and inspection are documented in the report on houses and private properties, in addition to 1579 damaged houses.    

 

Recommendations

SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties recommends to the;

First; International Community;

  • Exert pressure on all parties to the conflict to immediately cease all human rights violations in Yemen, through sorting out a solution to put an end to the conflict, that resulted in severe agonies, on children and women particularly;
  • Support the National Inquiry Commission with material and technical capacities, and train its investigation teams, to work in accordance with UN standards;
  • Pressure on Houthis group and the legitimate government to release all detainees;
  • Prosecute perpetrators of gross violations to the international human rights law, and international humanitarian law, during the ongoing war in Yemen;
  • Provide urgent humanitarian aids to areas impacted by military confrontations, and economic siege, and ensure access of aids to impacted areas in coordination with local organizations;

Second; to the Legitimate Government:

  • The legitimate government shall immediately release all detainees in Aden and Hadhramout prisons, and initiate investigations on the reasons behind death of some detainees inside these prisons;
  • Assign a prosecutor-general and support the judicial authority to return to work and decide on rivals and restore rights;
  • Assist the National Inquiry Commission to access required information to undertake its mandate, and facilitate movements of the commissioners and team works in the field and work independently and neutrally;
  • Take all necessary security precautions to prevent terrorist attacks at soldiers’ gatherings;
  • Mitigate people’s sufferings in areas under its control, and find out ways to access into people and areas under militia’s control.

Third; to the Arab Coalition;

  • Investigate reasons and causes behind attacking civilians by airstrikes and held responsible parties accountable;
  • Compensate victims and their relatives who fall victims of AC airstrikes or whose properties were impacted by such airstrikes;
  • Comprehensive revision to the “bank of targets” and rules of combat, particularly in residential areas adjacent to military sites, according to the rues and principles of the international law;
  • Cooperate with National Inquiry Commission and facilitate access to required information to accomplish its mandate, and to instruct administrative and security entities to respect Commission’s independence and neutrality.

Forth; to the De Facto Authority in Sana’a (Houthis-Saleh militia)

  • Immediately cease of indiscriminate attacks that targets residential areas, particularly in Taiz and Mareb.
  • Cooperate with the National Inquiry Commission and facilitate access to required information and verify data received through monitors and direct reports, and facilitate movements of the commissioners and teams in areas under its control;
  • Immediate release of all detainees, among politicians, kept illegally, and end immediately torture of detainees and forcibly disappeared;
  • Refrain from using public facilities and civil objects for military purposes;
  • Allow serious investigation on the allegations of human rights violations on opponents, particularly enforced disappearance, torture, and field executions, and responsible accountable;
  • Submit maps of the landmine fields planted in the southern and middle regions prior to their withdrawal, and to stop using of landmines in other regions.

Fifth; to the United States of America;

  • Immediately cessation of US air force attacks on civilians and show respect to Yemeni territory independence and sovereignty, and international convention that US has ratified;
  • Investigate reasons and causes of falling of civilians’ victims to drones attacks, and held responsible accountable;
  • Compensate victims and their families, who have been attacked by the drones, or whose houses were damaged consequently.  
  • Here to download the full detailed report !!