To the Government of Yemen
- Ensure that state security forces abide by international
policing standards, including the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms,
when responding to protests, and in particular restricting the use of
firearms to situations of imminent threat of death or serious injury, or
- Establish an independent commission of inquiry with full
authority to investigate the use of excessive force by the state security
services against Southern Movement protests which should report speedily.
- Investigate and hold accountable, through prosecutions,
disciplinary proceedings and other measures, state security officials who
have engaged in, or ordered the use of, excessive force against unarmed
- End the arbitrary detention of protesters by the security
forces, and release those who remain in detention without charge. Any
remaining detainees should be speedily brought before an independent
judicial body with the power to review their detention and order their
- Ensure that all security forces act within the limits of
the law when arresting and detaining persons, and close all unauthorized
- End the use of vague and overbroad criminal charges, such
as articles 125 and 126 of the Crimes and Punishment Law of 1994 that
punish by death anyone who “intentionally undermines the
independence of the republic and its unity and the integrity of its
territory,” and “broadcasts news or ... false rumors ... or
intends advocacy causing panic among the people or weakening the the
people’s moral spirit,” respectively, and article 136 that
punishes with three years in prison “broadcasting false news ... or
rumors ... with the intent to disturb public order ... or damage public
interests.” Repeal these articles, and amend articles 127, 128, 129,
and 131 to remove overly broad and vague charges.
- Ensure that all detained suspects are treated in
accordance with international human rights standards, including, to have access
to a lawyer of their choice, to be held in humane conditions free from
cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, and not to be held in long-term
detention without trial or access to the judiciary.
- Adopt procedures to ensure that children under age 18 are
detained only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate
period of time. Mandate that children are never detained with adults, in
accordance with international standards.
- Respect and protect the right of all persons to peacefully
assemble and to associate with others. Any limitation on these rights
should be strictly minimal: i.e. it must not be arbitrary and be clearly
based in law; can only be for a legitimate reason and the restriction
should only be to the minimum extent necessary to meet the aim. .
- Thoroughly review—and revise as necessary—the
training curriculum for security forces to ensure comprehensive training
on human rights issues including respect for the rights to freedom of
assembly, association, and freedom of expression and non-lethal forms of
- Ensure that pro-government organizations, including the
Committees to Protect Unity, do not engage in vigilante violence against
government critics and opponents. Investigate, and if appropriate
prosecute, all allegations of violence by pro-government militias as well
as opposition forces.
- End the arbitrary arrest, prosecution, and intimidation of
independent journalists, bloggers, and editors reporting on the Southern
Movement and abuses by security forces in the south. Pardon those charged
or convicted of acts protected under the right to free speech.
- Stop closing down or suspending independent newspapers for
reporting on the Southern Movement and abuses by security forces in the
- Review and amend legislation to ensure that Yemeni law
does not criminalize protected forms of expression and exchange of
information, including through electronic media or contact with
international human rights organizations. In particular, decriminalize
peaceful advocacy for secession, which, as a political discussion, is a
strongly protected from of speech under freedom of expression. Ensure that
there is minimal interference in peaceful political discussion.
To the Southern Movement
- Publicly reject acts of violence by Southern Movement
activists or sympathizers against northerners; ensure that any such
attacks are investigated and that those responsible are held accountable.
To Yemen’s Neighbors and Donors
- Publicly criticize human rights abuses committed by the
Yemeni security forces, in particular the use of excessive force against
peaceful protesters, the use of vague and overbroad criminal charges to
carry out arbitrary arrests and long-term detentions, including of
children, and widespread violations of rights to freedom of assembly,
association, and expression, and academic freedom. Call for all children
detained around the protests to be released pending trial, if any, and
that children in detention be separated immediately from adults.
- Advocate for greater media freedom in Yemen, including the
electronic media, and publicly criticize closures of newspapers, as well
as threats against, arrests, and prosecutions of journalists, bloggers,
and editors who report on the Southern Movement and abuses by security
forces in the south.
- Call for the release of all persons held arbitrarily, and
for the Yemeni authorities to clarify immediately the whereabouts of
“disappeared” individuals believed to be held in secret,
- Call on Yemeni authorities to investigate abuses committed
by security forces and prosecute those found to be responsible.
- Make it clear to the Yemeni authorities that international
assistance, including financial, military, and diplomatic support, will be
contingent upon improvements in Yemen’s human rights conduct, and
develop clear benchmarks with which to monitor Yemen’s human rights
record. Ensure that all forms of assistance to Yemen are carefully
monitored to ensure that they do not contribute to human rights abuses
committed by security forces.
- Strengthen assistance programs to Yemen that focus on educating and monitoring security forces in non-lethal crowd control and respect
for international human rights standards.
- Ensure that non-lethal crowd control assistance programs
are not abused by the Yemeni authorities to restrict the exercise of
rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression.