Yemen: In advance of Yemen’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN in 2019, GCHR joins partners in joint submissions about violations affecting human rights defenders

24.07.18

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) joined partners in two joint submissions on Yemen’s human rights record in advance of its next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in January 2019. The submissions examine the impact of the conflict and ongoing violations on the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) and civil society.

In the first submission, CIVICUS, GCHR and Front Line Defenders examine the government of Yemen’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society. Specifically, we analyse Yemen’s fulfilment of the rights to the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, and unwarranted restrictions on HRDs, since its previous UPR examination in January 2014. To this end, we assess Yemen’s implementation of recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle relating to these issues and provide a number of specific, action-orientated follow-up recommendations.

During the 2nd UPR cycle of the UPR of Yemen on 29 January 2014, the Government of Yemen received a total of 316 recommendations. The government accepted 39 recommendations related to civic space. However, an evaluation of a range of legal sources and human rights documentation set out in this submission demonstrates that the government has not fully implemented all recommendations relating to civil society space. Indeed, the government has not fully implemented any of the 316 recommendations it accepted.

The submission states: “We are alarmed by the extreme violence against HRDs and journalists, and the ongoing restrictions on the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression. HRDs and journalists are regularly abducted, kidnapped and detained in undisclosed locations. They are often subjected to smear campaigns, threats and judicial persecution, and the perpetrators typically enjoy absolute impunity. Many HRDs, journalists and representatives of civil society who are detained are tortured. The violence has created a political and security vacuum that has enabled different armed factions to threaten CSOs and the media to try to get them to release reports that support their cause. Several CSOs have been raided by these armed factions and had their staff detained and their family members threatened. The raids and attacks on CSOs have forced many to reduce their activities drastically and several have closed down entirely.”

You can read the full submission in English here.

GCHR has also joined a submission with its local partner Mwatana Organisation for Human Rights and other partners, to be published at a later date.