Yemen: Yemen - Targeting of human rights defenders and journalists continues

04.12.13

On 29 November 2013, armed men attempted to assassinate journalist and human rights defender Abdullah bin Amer on 24th Street next to the home of Yemen's President in the capital Sana'a. Armed man riding a motorcycle reportedly fired three shots at him with a pistol, but the journalist was unhurt. He then fled the scene.

Abdullah bin Amer is the publisher and editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Masapress" (Evening Press).  He has written several articles dealing with corruption in state institutions, including the office of the Presidency.

The assassination attempt comes within the context of the continued targeting of human rights defenders and journalists in Yemen, which seriously threatens the human rights movement and press freedom in the country.

On 18 November 2013, the warehouse in Sana'a of two newspapers "Aloulaye" and "Al-Sharea" were burned by two masked men riding a motorcycle who fled after they had set a fire at the entrance, which led to the burning of a large quantity of left-over copies of both newspapers.

On 19 November 2013, Ala'a Al- Khaiwani, the daughter of journalist and human rights defender Abdulkarim Al- Khaiwani, was subjected to a suspicious accident in which she was run over by a motorcycle. The accident resulted in a head injury leading to internal bleeding. She was transferred to the emergency department at the University Hospital of Science and Technology in Sana'a.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) believes that the ongoing attacks against human rights defenders and journalists is aimed at undermining their legitimate and peaceful work in the field of human rights and journalism.

The GCHR Calls on the Yemeni government to:

  1. Carry out an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into the above mentioned attacks and others with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in line with local laws and international standards;
  2. Take all the required measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of human rights defenders and journalists;
  3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders and journalists in Yemen are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free from all restrictions including judicial harassment. 

The GCHR respectfully reminds you 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, recognizes 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 12.2, which provides that “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.”