In a report entitled “Rule of law sidelined in the name of security”AI slams Yemen’s human rights violations [Archives:2003/671/Front Page]

September 25 2003

Sana'a, September 24 – In its recent report published about the human rights record in Yemen, Amnesty International (AI), an international organization supporting human rights and liberties, slammed and heavily criticized the record of human rights in Yemen since 9th of September 2001.

Arbitrary detentions condemned
The AI report criticized the ongoing detention of tens of citizens for so called security reasons during the last two years. AI's report said that the case of those detainees “reflects a significant regression in the government's human rights policy and practice since the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.”
The 30-page report concentrated on the negative practices by the government in arbitrary arresting and detaining Yemeni citizens without any evidence of their involvement in any illegal acts.
Yemen's progress witnessed in the years before 2001 is today “threatened by the changes in regional and world politics brought about by the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US. The government's security policies adopted in the wake of 11 September events represent a serious setback to its previous progressive undertakings and a further drift away from its obligations under international human rights treaties” the report said.

Human rights violations reported
The AI report also mentioned the incommunicado detention and allegations of torture and ill-treatment, the indefinite detention without charge or trial, the secret and forcible deportation of foreign nationals, the harassment and detention of journalists, the climate of fear caused to the civil society, and justifications given by the government and the USA's role in them. The report added that all of those acts represent a severe setback in Yemen's human rights record, which suffered severely in the last two years.

USA blamed
Amnesty International blamed the US policy in the region for part of the human rights violations that took place in Yemen during the last two years. “Amnesty International believes that the US Government's security policy towards Yemen has also played a significant role in the deterioration of the human rights situation in the country.”
The report went to the extent of accusing the USA for carrying out “apparent extrajudicial killings in Yemen”, referring the drone attack on a car in Mareb, killing one of the suspects wanted along with his companions.

Yemen's government advised
The report warned the government of Yemen that it can not be exonerated for the human rights violations which have occurred and continue to occur in the country since 11 September 2001. It also advised the government not to continue carrying out mass arbitrary arrest, detention, and deportations that continue until date.
“More than 200 people, many of them arrested nearly two years ago, continue to be detained without charge or trial and denied access to lawyers or the courts to seek justice.” the report remarked.
In conclusion, the organization expressed its grave concern about the Yemeni Government's actions in sidelining the rule of law and its human rights obligations in the name of “fighting terrorism” and “national security”.
Furthermore, the government was criticized for giving the green light to the security forces, particularly the Political Security Office (PSO), to act with impunity in total disregard for the law and the role of the judiciary.
“What is more disturbing about these human rights violations is that they are being carried out as a deliberate policy by the government” the report said.

No acceptable justification
However, AI did not agree on the rationale presented to Amnesty International for this situation by the authorities in Yemen in that the government had no option but to break its own laws and its international human rights obligations in order to “fight terrorism” and contain the risks of a US military attack against Yemen.
The report added that “Amnesty International believes that sacrificing human rights can never be the solution.”

Pressure on Yemen and USA wanted
AI said that the international community should exert pressure on Yemen and the USA to ensure that their security cooperation is not purchased at the expense of human rights and urge them to take immediate steps to restore the rule of law and the human rights of the detainees held both in Yemen and in Guantanamo Bay.
“Amnesty International urges the international community to bring pressure on the Governments of Yemen and the US to address the human rights violations documented in this report.” the report concluded.