A joint UPR submission by coalition of Yemeni human rights organizations

The Yemeni Government Failed to respect, protect and fulfill Human Rights

Human Rights Agenda, the Association of Mothers of Abductees, Accountability for Human Rights, and Dameer for Rights and Freedoms jointly submitted a submission to the “Universal Periodic Review” Committee of the Human Rights Council. This submission aims to contribute to enriching its review of Yemen in the fourth session, the 46th session of the Human Rights Council.

The universal periodic review (UPR) is one of the most unique UN mechanisms, through which the human rights situation of each member state is reviewed once every four and a half years. The review process primarily focuses on the extent of compliance and commitment of states and governments to human rights and aims to urge and encourage states to adhere to their duties. Furthermore, the UPR facilitates the presentation of pertinent questions and recommendations aimed at enhancing the human rights situation of the state.

Under International Human Rights Law, the Yemeni government has obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights. The Respect obligation entails refraining from interfering with the enjoyment of human rights or limiting them. The Protect Obligation requires protection of individuals and groups from human rights from any violations by third parties. The fulfill obligation entails taking positive measures to facilitate the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, ensuring non-regression of acquired rights, and guaranteeing the fulfillment of minimum core obligations.

The four submitting organizations shed light on the most significant human rights violations in Yemen committed by all parties to the conflict, including the Yemeni government, Ansar Allah (Houthis), the Saudi-led coalition, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Southern Transitional Council (STC), and other UAE-backed forces. The submission provides a comprehensive list of questions and suggested recommendations to be addressed to the Yemeni government during the Universal Periodic Review session.

The review addressed ten human rights related issues and violations in Yemen, including aerial and ground attacks on civilians and civilian objects, detention-related abuses, the use of landmines, child recruitment, violations on the educational and health systems, as well as abusing freedom of expression, the press, and minorities. The submission included a chapter briefing on the justice system in Yemen and other counties involved in the conflict and options for future accountability.

“There is no sustainable peace without justice. The Yemeni government must take serious and responsible steps to ensure the achievement of sustainable peace, by obligating the parties to the conflict to reveal the fate of the forcibly disappeared, release the abductees and detainees unconditionally, and close all prisons for all parties. Ensuring their compliance with national and international law, bringing perpetrators of violations to fair trial, and working to protect civilians and ensure their safety and security in accordance with human rights law.” Said, Amat Al-Salam Al-Haj, President of the Association of Mothers of Abductees.

In addition, the organizations presented a list of proposed questions to be addressed to the government regarding the measures taken to ensure the protection of civilians and alleviate their suffering. A list of suggested recommendations was also presented to highlight several priorities, including the compliance of all parties involved in the Yemen conflict with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, the immediate disclosure of the fate of detainees and the disappeared, the closure of unofficial prisons, and the respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assemblies.

“Whether or not the government fulfills its obligations puts the lives of millions of Yemenis at stake. The government must take urgent and effective measures to protect civilians, their safety, and their rights” Stated Nuha Al-Ariki, the Executive Director of Human Rights agenda.

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