Yemen: The Gulf Centre for Human Rights mourns the death of photojournalist Fawaz Al-Wafi

25.03.22

With great sadness and sorrow, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR)received news of the killing of photojournalist, Fawaz Al-Wafii in Yemen. On 23 March 2022 in the morning, citizens found him dead in his car in the Wadi Al-Qadi area of ​​Taiz city, located south of the capital, Sana'a, about 256 kilometers away. Local sources confirmed that unknown persons stabbed him several times, targeting his chest last night.

GCHR received various reports on the motives for this brutal murder, whose exact causes have not been known so far.

Al-Wafi uses his Facebook page to post his personal opinions, comment on public affairs in the country, and convey the suffering of the citizens in their very difficult daily lives.

On 26 January 2022, he posted the following on his page, "A man becomes just as great as he works for the welfare of his fellow man."

On 17 March 2022, he published a beautiful picture (shown above) of his city of Taiz that he had taken, as he put it, “with my little lens” in 2014.

Journalists and media professionals in Yemen work in extremely dangerous conditions as they complete their news reporting, where they are exposed to death, imprisonment, torture and harassment by all parties to the current conflict in Yemen. Many of them have lost their lives or had to leave the country. 

GCHR urges the responsible local authorities in the city of Taiz, which are affiliated with the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to do the following:

  1. Open an immediate, independent, impartial and thorough investigation into the killing of Fawaz Al-Wafi with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
  2. Ensure that journalists and those exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion can do so in a safe environment;
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders including journalists in Yemen are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

GCHR reminds all the parties to the conflict in Yemen that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (b and c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”, and to Article 12 (1 and 2): “(1) Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (2) The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”