Organised by International Federation for Human Rights, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Index on Censorship and others, this is a discussion of threats to human rights defenders, journalists and online activists working in Yemen’s dangerous environment.
Human rights defenders in war-torn Yemen undertake their work in a dangerous and hostile environment as they face human rights violations at the hands of all parties to the conflict. Journalists and online activists undertake their work under threat to their safety as public freedoms including freedom of assembly in addition to freedom of expression remain severely restricted.
All those who are party to the conflict in Yemen have an obligation to protect civilians and continue negotiations, and respect and protect public freedoms including freedom of assembly in addition to freedom of expression during the conflict.
The side event aimed at highlighting how serious violations and abuses of international law have continued throughout the fighting and urge support for the UN High Commissioner’s call for an international, independent investigation into civilian deaths and injuries in Yemen, a call repeatedly made by national, regional and international civil society organisations.
On 2 October 2015, the council adopted HRC resolution 30/18, a deeply flawed resolution, drafted by Saudi Arabia, a party to the conflict that ignored earlier calls for an international inquiry and instead endorsed a Yemeni national commission. In August 2016, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in concluding that the Yemeni commission was not acting in accordance with international standards, said the “commission did not enjoy the cooperation of all concerned parties and could not operate in all parts of Yemen,” and “has not been able to provide the impartial and wide-ranging inquiry that is required by serious allegations of violations and abuse.” At the mid of 2017, an adequate independent international investigation had yet to be established.
The side event will also call for the release of detained human rights defenders and for those responsible for guaranteeing the safety of journalists and for an investigation to be established into the murder of journalists and activists.
Radhia Al-Mutawakel, chairperson of Mwatana Organisation, Yemen
Afrah Nasser, blogger from Yemen
Sherif Mansour, Committee to Protect Journalists
Kristine Beckerle, Human Rights Watch
Khalid Ibrahim, executive director, Gulf Centre for Human Rights