December 15, 2009

V. Unlawful Use of Deadly Force against Peaceful Protestors

On an almost daily basis since 2007, the Southern Movement has organized largely peaceful demonstrations, sit-ins, festivals, marches, and other forms of public protests to give voice to their cause. With disturbing consistency, security forces have opened fire on protesters, killing and wounding unarmed demonstrators. The Yemeni authorities appear unwilling to permit public displays of grievances by the Southern Movement, regardless of their peaceful nature.

Legal Provisions on Freedom of Assembly and the Use of Deadly Force

The right to freedom of assembly is enshrined in article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides that “no restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security or public safety, public order (ordre publique), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”[56] Yemen has been a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) since 1987.

Any restriction on the right of freedom of assembly on grounds of public safety, national security, and public order should be interpreted narrowly, as otherwise these vague grounds can be used to bar almost any form of assembly, particularly protests.[57]

Yemen’s 2003 Law on Organizing Demonstrations and Marches requires organizers to notify the authorities three days in advance, except for smaller protests and gatherings that the law exempts from this procedural requirement.[58] Demonstrations also must not sow “sedition” or question the “unity of the lands.”[59] While international human rights law permits governments to act against groups using or advocating violence, it does not allow a government to ban a group solely because it is regionally based or advocates autonomy or even secession.[60] 

The Yemeni law on demonstrations bans carrying weapons at such a public event.[61]  It requires security forces to protect participants in demonstrations and provide medical care. Security forces must disperse demonstrators when crimes are being committed, when demonstrations are unannounced, and in the event of riots.[62]

The use of force by state security forces acting in a law-enforcement capacity is governed by international standards. The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials states that “law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.”[63] The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms provides that law enforcement officials “shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force” and may use force “only if other means remain ineffective.”[64] When the use of force is necessary, law enforcement officials must “exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.”[65] Article 9 of the Basic Principles states:

Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.

Article 10 of the Basic Principles requires that law enforcement officials “give clear warning of their intent to use firearms.”[66] The Basic Principles make clear that there can be no departure from these provisions on the basis of “exceptional circumstances such as internal political stability or any other public emergency,” i.e. that these are non-derogable standards.[67]

At the six protests investigated in depth by Human Rights Watch, Yemeni security forces violated almost every aspect of the principles stated above. At most of these protests, protestors posed no threat to the police or others that could have necessitated the use of deadly force: most were peaceful demonstrations in which unarmed civilians shouted slogans and carried banners. When rock-throwing or other violence took place, security forces could have used non-lethal methods to contain the violence. At none of the shooting incidents investigated by Human Rights Watch did security forces call on demonstrators to disperse, fire warning shots, or otherwise warn demonstrators that they were about to use lethal force. At most of these protests, police made little attempt to use non-lethal forms of crowd control, such as water cannons, rubber bullets, and stun grenades, to disperse the protesters. When they used tear gas, they immediately followed it with live fire.

In addition to the eyewitness accounts collected by Human Rights Watch and our on-the-ground investigation in southern Yemen, extensive amateur video clips from the protests have been posted on public websites. Most of these clips comprise raw, unedited footage that show security forces confronting what appear to be peaceful and unarmed protestors with deadly force, and are consistent with the accounts documented below.

These six cases represent only a fraction of the total number of cases of the use of deadly  force used by the security forces during the protests in southern Yemen, but they show a disturbingly consistent pattern of unlawful use of force by security forces. News outlets like Al Jazeera have documented deadly use of force against protestors at other protests.[68]

Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights, Dr. Huda Alban, told Human Rights Watch that her ministry had recommended different forms of crowd control to the security forces in response to killings at southern protests.[69]

The incidents documented by Human Rights Watch below are organized in reverse chronology, starting with the most recent. Cases of unlawful shooting in urban areas such as Hashimi Square, Aden, are documented in greater detail than some in remote rural cases, where it was more difficult to find multiple witnesses.

May 31, 2009, al-Dhali’

On May 31, 2009, several thousand protesters marched down the main street in the town of al-Dhali’, about 100 kilometers north of Aden, chanting and raising slogans of the Southern Movement on banners. Abd al-Khaliq Muthanna Abdullah, a teacher and Southern Movement activist, told Human Rights Watch how security forces opened fire without warning, killing one protester and wounding several others:

I arrived around 9:30 a.m., just when it was starting. The security was already there. We started to walk down the main street, and more people joined. Suddenly, while we were moving forward, we heard gunfire. ... At the time the shooting started, there had been no violence [from the marchers], we had just started our march. There was a police barrier far ahead of us, but we never reached it.
There was no warning from the security services, asking us to disperse or something: that is not the method they use. Maybe 10 or 20 shots were fired, directly into the crowd. Then everybody was busy trying to help the wounded. This protest only lasted 15 minutes, and then it was finished by the shootings.[70]

This same witness saw another protester, Tawfiq al-Ja’di, shot dead: “I saw one of the protesters fall down with bullet wounds to his head and shoulder.” Several other protestors were wounded that day.[71]

May 30, 2009, Shahr

On May 30, 2009, unarmed civilians held a peaceful protest in Shahr town, demanding the release of some 75 persons detained during a protest two days earlier. The protesters marched to the ‘Umar Mosque in the center of the town’s waterfront, then to Siddat al-Khor, and were marching back to the ‘Umar Mosque when a large contingent of Central Security riot police confronted them by blocking the road. As the protestors approached the police line, officers first fired into the air, but then directly at the protestors, according to an eyewitness:

At Bubak’s house, the central security waited for us, all lined up. We approached them, and they shot into the air, at least 50 shots. The people didn’t stop, though, and came to within five or 10 meters from them. Then they started shooting at the people.[72]

The shooting by the Central Security officers wounded at least nine of the protesters, and fatally injured ‘Awwad Sa’d Barami, 21, who was in the first row. According to his father and a second witness interviewed by Human Rights Watch, ‘Awwad Sa’d Baram was shot in the head and had several other gunshot wounds in the legs. No inquiry in the fatal shooting was held.[73]

May 21, 2009, Hashimi Square, Shaikh ‘Uthman, Aden

On May 21, 2009, the anniversary of the 1994 declaration of an independent state by south Yemen political leaders (and one day before Yemen’s Unification Day, commemorating the May 22, 1990 unification of North and South Yemen) a large protest was held at the central Hashimi Square in the Shaikh ‘Uthman neighborhood of Aden. The May 21 protests were large because the exiled former president of South Yemen, Ali Salim al-Bidh, had just broken his long-standing silence and at a press conference in Munich called for secession of southern Yemen. Security forces killed at least three people and wounded another 25 to 30 in their response to the protest.

According to multiple eyewitnesses, security forces on several different occasions opened fire on protestors without giving warning and in the absence of a threat that could have justified such force. After the security forces began firing live ammunition at protesters, some protestors began throwing rocks at security forces, who responded with additional shooting. Rock-throwing by protesters may well be criminal, but does not present the level of threat to security forces that justifies the repeated use of deadly force.

Abd al-Nasir Salih Ahmad ‘Ubaid, a former military pilot who was forcibly retired after the 1994 civil war, told Human Rights Watch how the protesters had filled the square early and that a large security force was already present:

I arrived around 9 a.m. The protest was at Hashimi Square. The square was filled with thousands; it was full. People were shouting slogans against corruption, and for freedom for the south. There was Central Security [riot police], as well as Republican Guards from San’a, new units in their thousands, and regular army units. They were all around the square.[74]

According to several witnesses, the security forces soon attacked protesters with teargas and began firing live bullets at them. Nasr Nasr Abdullah Hamuzaiba, a former soldier who was in front of a protester holding a sign with Southern Movement slogans, recounted how he was wounded when the Central Security riot police attempted to block his group from entering the square, first with tear gas and then with live ammunition:

I was holding the sign at the front of the protests, in the first row. We wanted to enter the square from al-Karimi street, close to the square. Units of the Central Security arrived with their tear gas guns and targeted us with the teargas. Then, a woman in front of me picked up a rock and threw it at the police .... The police were mostly in front of us, maybe fifty meters away, but they also surrounded us.
About four soldiers started shooting, directly at the people in the front. They weren’t just firing one or two bullets: they were emptying their clips from their guns, firing lots of shots. Two of us fell down wounded, I was shot in my right leg and another man, from Radfan, was wounded in the chest.[75]

‘Abbadi Naji Ali al-Suhail, an army officer forcibly retired in 1994, gave Human Rights Watch a similar account of how he was wounded that morning at the protest in Hashimi Square:

The number of soldiers and security was greater than that of the protesters, and they were armed, most of them were from the Central Security. The protesters were trying to enter Hashimi Square from the side streets, and the security was in the square and the side streets. We first tried to enter from the side of Aden International Market Street, but they fired tear gas and live bullets at us.
When we reached the edge of Hashimi Square we were many people. The security stood in front of us and fired at us, and six people were wounded, one after the other. Sometimes, we tried to get close [to the security] to get them to retreat, and the youth sometimes threw rocks at them, but we told them not to.
I was the third to be wounded that day, six were wounded right there, but 23 total were wounded that day. We were standing still at the moment I was shot, shouting slogans. Then there was intense gun fire—I had several bullet holes in my clothes. I was on the first line of the protesters when I was shot—I am not sure if people were already throwing stones then, but after we were shot, people got angry and threw more rocks. The bullet entered right through my ankle and came out the other side. As soon as I fell, I was taken to the hospital.
The police didn’t give any warning before the shooting started.[76]

Muhammad Fadhil Haidar ‘Azab, 15, recounted to Human Rights Watch how, following the initial shooting, some angry protesters began throwing rocks at security forces and were met with further live fire:

We were peaceful at first, but then they started shooting and so we started throwing rocks at them. I and the other [youth] were throwing rocks at the police, and they kept responding with live fire. We were about fifty meters away from the police, and the police kept hiding behind walls and then coming out and firing on us. We hit their shields with our rocks a few times, but we were pretty far away. They shot many times at us—they would finish their clips and put new ones in. We were hundreds of youths fighting the police.
About 30 youth were wounded that day. I was shot in the ankle with a live bullet, and also hit with a teargas canister in the leg.[77]

Abd al-Khaliq Muthanna Abdullah, the teacher and movement activist, gave Human Rights Watch a similar account of the clashes that morning:

By the time I arrived, teargas had already been fired. People were hiding behind buildings and in the side streets, and the security forces were chasing them around. Then the security forces went back in formation, and the youths advanced on them, and then they would chase the youth. The youth threw stones at the police, and the police responded with live fire.
There was a big group of youth in the main street. There was a big distance between the youth and the security forces. The security fired directly into the youth, and shot them. I saw seven youth fall down with my own eyes, one was shot in the neck and died, and another was shot in the head and died. ...The youth were throwing rocks at the police when the shooting happened, but they were too far away to hit the police. They were only throwing rocks, nothing else.[78]

According to multiple press accounts, at least three persons died after being shot at the protests—one died at the clashes themselves, and another two at the hospital from their wounds.[79] The three persons killed were Abd al-Qasim Muhsin Hasan al-Talali, ‘Abid Muthanna Sail al-Halimi, and Adib ‘Abdu Abdullah al-Bahri.

The security forces continued to use live fire even during efforts to get the wounded to the hospital. Following the shootings at the Hashimi Square, the demonstrators moved the wounded towards a private hospital. A large crowd of angry protestors gathered outside the hospital, and the security forces again responded with teargas and live ammunition, wounding more protesters. One of those present recounted:

When I was wounded, we had further problems at the hospital. The hospital was full of wounded people, and their relatives gathered to protest, it was very crowded outside. The Central Security [riot police] came and dispensed the crowd with teargas and live bullets, and more people were wounded, including Abdullah Khalid, about 20, he was shot in the side and needed medical care abroad. They shot teargas and it got inside the hospital, we were getting sick so they gave us masks.[80]

Aden governor ‘Adnan al-Jifri that day bluntly denied that any clashes had taken place, saying that “no clashes occurred between security forces and demonstrators in Aden.”  He blamed the deaths on “rogue elements” and “saboteurs” trying to cause unrest, rather than the security forces.[81]  

April 15, 2009, Habilain

On the morning of April 15, thousands of protesters gathered at Radfan Teaching College in Habilain, a couple of hours drive northeast from Aden, to protest recent detentions in Radfan and an increased military presence in the area. Central security riot police had already deployed in the area of the college as early as 6 a.m., anticipating a protest. According to a participant: “I went to the protest because I have friends who are wounded or detained. We protested in front of the gates of the college. It was mostly students, but civilians joined also. We were demanding the release of the detainees.”[82] Karim Zain Thabit, 20, a college student, described to Human Rights Watch how he was shot:

At about 9:15 a.m., the shooting started, and I was among the first to be wounded, with a live bullet to my foot. Riot police from two trucks opened fire on us; they were in the main street, maybe five or six police started shooting. They opened fire on full automatic—we couldn’t count the bullets--and they fired directly at the protesters, at our legs... At the college, before the police opened fire, there were no rocks thrown, that happened only after the shooting. The police didn’t give us any warnings, they just came out of a side street, moved towards us on the main street, and started shooting.[83]

Following the initial shooting, the protesters moved the wounded to the local hospital, where another clash with the security forces took place. Aiman Salim Muhsin Ali, 25, a student, explained how he was wounded at the hospital:

At the Radfan hospital, we were about 300 protesters. We were shouting slogans, like “Revolution, revolution in the south!” The Central riot police and the General Security police were there, with about 20 cars. There were no warnings [to disperse] from the security forces: they just opened fire on us with live ammunition, right on to the crowd, they fired from machine guns for about 15 minutes. ...I was shot in the groin by one bullet when they opened fire.[84]

At least two people, Majid Husain Thabit, and Lul Muhammad al-Halimiyya, were shot dead by the security forces in this incident at the hospital.[85]

July 4, 2008, Mafraq al-Shu’aib, al-Dhali’

On July 4, 2008, several thousand inhabitants of al-Dhali’ town located 100 kilometers north of Aden, held a protest at the nearby town of Mafraq al-Shu’aib to call for the release of detainees from previous protests. The Central Security riot police set up four checkpoints around the protestors, with at least 100 police officers in the area. As the protesters approached a police line, the police opened fire on them. Walid Qasim As’ad Shu’aibi, 25, a leader of the Union of Southern Youth organization, recalled to Human Rights Watch how he was shot by the police when they opened fire on the protesters without warning:

We first receded, and protested from another area, but they shot at the ground before us as we approached their lines. I got shot in the upper left thigh, and got four other wounds from bullets that hit the ground before me—I don’t know if this was from pebbles or bullet fragments that hit me in the lower left leg. ...The shortest distance between the protesters and the police was about 10 meters, that’s when they opened fire. We didn’t try to go any closer—I was among those who called for the protesters to go back. I wasn’t even in the frontlines when I got shot.[86]

January 13, 2008, Hashimi Square, Aden

On January 13, 2008, the anniversary of an outbreak of fighting in 1986 between two rival southern groups, a large demonstration was held in Hashimi Square, in the Shaikh ‘Uthman area of Aden. Southerners now celebrate that anniversary as a festival for tolerance and unity among the people of the south and the demonstration in the square included speeches by a number of prominent politicians, including Ali Munassar, Hasan Ba’um, Nasir Nuba, Shala Shayi’, ‘Aidarus al-Naqib, and Ahmad bin ‘Umar al-Farid, according to a participant.[87]

A large security presence, including Central Security riot police, rapid response police, army soldiers, and regular police, was at Hashimi Square, close to the podium. The security forces had vehicles with mounted machine guns, and most were armed with AK-47 automatic weapons. At one point, the security forces began to fire teargas and sound (stun) grenades into the crowd of protesters. Thabit ‘Ubaid Hazim al-Qahwari, a colonel (‘aqid) in the southern army who was forced to retire in 1994, recalled to Human Rights Watch how security forces wounded him as they opened fire on the peaceful protesters:

I was part of the security for the event, so I was in the last row [away from the podium]. Then, suddenly, live fire came from behind me. I was shot with one bullet, from behind. It entered into my right thigh, and it hit the muscle. Behind me were officers from Central Security police, rapid response police, the army, and the regular police, about 40 meters away. I heard many shots fired when I was hit. [88]

At least three people were killed during the crackdown that day, according to news reports.[89] One of them was Salih Abu Bakr al-Bakri, from Lahj. His family sued the security committee of Aden on January 17, 2008, for the unlawful shooting, but to date there has been no investigation or court hearing into the death. After filing the law suit, the family received several threatening phone calls from National Security officers, saying they should drop the case or they would be detained.[90]

The Role of Pro-government Militias

The abuses documented by Human Rights Watch in Yemen are not limited to those committed by formal security forces. Pro-government militias and security officials out of uniform, acting as vigilante groups, have also been implicated in abuses. The increasing activities of these extra-legal militias and groups greatly impede the mechanisms for accountable law enforcement, thus raising the potential for further violations and intercommunal violence. President Ali Abdullah Saleh gave warning of possible intercommunal violence in April, when he warned:

If anything happens to unity, God forbid: The country won't be divided into two parts, as some might think, but into many... People would fight from house to house, and from window to window...They have to learn a lesson from what had happened in Iraq and Somalia.[91]

Human rights and southern political activists as well as independent journalists who spoke with Human Rights Watch said they believed that the president decided to create pro-government militias known as “Committees to Protect Unity” (CPU) sometime in April 2009, during the Habilain clashes (see above) and southern protests. The aim of the CPU, they said, was to organize counter-protests in the south in favor of Yemen’s unity, but these shadowy groups also appear to have had a hand in vigilante violence against protesters.[92] On May 25, 2009, President Saleh met with pro-government tribal leaders and local council officials from al-Habilain, Radfan, and al-Dhali’ at his San’a palace, reportedly telling them, “I am sure you will stay faithful to the September and October revolutions,” and promising to open military training camps in the south for supporters of Yemen’s unity.[93]

Members of the CPU allegedly include former or active members of the military or security organizations, and other government officials.[94] 

The first reported appearance of the CPU came when a group of armed men near al-Milah stopped the van carrying Al-Ayyam newspaper to San’a, confiscating and burning 16,500 copies. According to witnesses, armed and unarmed members of the Committees to Protect Unity also appeared during security crackdowns on demonstrations, and their members fought alongside the security forces at al-Fadhli’s compound on July 23, 2009.[95]

Abd al-Nasir Salih Ahmad ‘Ubaid, a 45-year-old retired military pilot, told Human Rights Watch how he had been present at the May 21, 2009 protests in Aden, and had hidden from the security forces to avoid arrest. When he tried to make his way home, just after 9:30 p.m., a group of northerners stopped his car. He identified them as “janjaweed,” a derogatory reference to pro-government militias terrorizing civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan (and a common southern Yemeni slur used for members of the CPUs). When the northerners found posters of South Yemen’s exiled ex-president, Ali Salim al-Baidh, in `Ubaid’s car, they brutally beat him. Ultimately, one of the attackers punched him in the eye with a hard metal object, causing his eyeball to rupture and permanently blinding him in that eye.[96]

In many of the incidents involving violence against protest organizers by civilian-dressed men, it is impossible to tell who is responsible. ‘Isam Mahdi Ali, a district leader in the Southern Movement’s youth wing, was detained around 7:30 am at a protest at al-Hashimi Square on May 7, 2009, and kept in detention until after midnight by the Political Security Organization because he refused to sign a pledge that he would not take part in future protests. Shortly after midnight, he and another detainee were taken to al-Hashimi square and released. As he began walking home, a taxi pulled alongside him, and the driver told him to come inside. As he opened the backdoor, he was grabbed by the men inside and forced into the car. The men took him to an uninhabited part of Aden, near the city’s electricity plant, where they threatened and tortured him:

There were three of them, one from the south and two from the north. They had shawls around their heads. We stopped and they started questioning me while burning their cigarettes on my arms. They asked me why I was working with the movement, saying that we should all live in unity, that we should respect the president, that he would give all of us a comfortable life, such things. Then they threatened me, saying that if I participate in the July 7 protests, they would burn President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s entire name on my arm with their cigarettes.[97]

Denial of Medical Care and Attacks Against Medical Staff and Facilities

According to a number of witnesses, including medical officials, security forces have made it increasingly difficult for wounded persons to obtain medical care by ordering public hospitals not to treat wounded persons from protests, stationing officers from Political Security and other security agencies at hospitals, and even carrying out attacks inside hospitals or  seizing wounded patients from their beds. Such actions gravely endanger the lives of wounded persons, many of them unlawfully shot by the security services.

Denial of access to medical care is a serious violation of human rights law. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights guarantees the “right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”[98] Yemen acceded to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on February 9, 1987. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which interprets the convention, in its General Comment 14 stated: “The right to treatment includes the creation of a system of urgent medical care in cases of accidents.”[99] The Committee held that “the denial of access to health facilities” violated the obligation of states to respect the right to health.[100]

Muhammad Fadhil Haidar ‘Azab, a 15-year-old student, was shot through the ankle with a live bullet during the May 21, 2009 protests and taken to the hospital for treatment. He told Human Rights Watch that after he spent two days in the hospital, security officials came to the hospital in four pick-up trucks, and took him out of his hospital bed and drove him to the al-Qahira police station. At the police station, officers questioned him why he took part in the protests, who had organized the protests, and then ordered him to sign a paper promising that he would not take part in future protests before being released.[101]

Walid Qasim As’ad Shu’aibi was shot in the upper left leg during a protest at the Mafraq al-Shu’aib junction on July 4, 2008. He was taken directly to the Shu’aibi public hospital, but, he told Human Rights Watch, guards at the hospital refused to let him and other wounded enter the hospital, so he had to seek out private treatment instead. An AK-47 bullet was extracted from his leg by a private doctor.[102]

Thabit ‘Ubaid Hazim al-Qahwari, the former military officer wounded in the Hashimi Square protest of January 2008, was quickly taken by fellow protesters by car to a private hospital, but on their way, Central Security officers stopped their car at the Jawlat Masna’ al-Qazl wal-Nasij roundabout. The officer at the checkpoint said he needed to speak to his superior officer before allowing them to pass. Al-Qahwari explained that he was wounded, but the officer replied, “I still need to speak to my superior officer.” They were made to wait five minutes before being allowed to proceed. Al-Qahwari spent months in the hospital to recover from the gunshot wound, and ultimately had to travel to India for a $20,000 operation and remains disabled. The authorities refused to accept a case against the security forces for the shooting, filed by al-Qahwari’s lawyer.[103]


[56]International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, art. 21.

[57]Manfred Nowak, UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary (Kehl am Rhein: N.P. Engel, 1993), pp. 386-387.

[58]Republican Decision of Law 29 for the Year 2003, Regarding the Organization of Demonstration sand Marches, arts. 4 and 19.

[59]Law on Demonstrations and Marches, arts. 9.c. and 16.

[60]It is clear that political parties cannot be banned on grounds of regional basis or secessionist platform: See, for example, the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in United Communist Party of Turkey v. Turkey (19392/92) (1998) 26 E.H.R.R. 121. See also the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights ruling in Communication 75/92, Katangese Peoples' Congress v. Zaire, Eighth Activity Report 1994-95.

[61]Law on Demonstrations and Marches, arts. 13 and 17.

[62]Law on Demonstrations and Marches, arts. 8 and 9.

[63]United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, adopted December 17, 1979, G.A. res. 34/169, annex, 34 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 46) at 186, U.N. Doc. A/34/46 (1979), art. 3.

[64]Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, 27 August to 7 September 1990, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.144/28/Rev.1 at 112 (1990), principle 4.

[65]Ibid, Principle 5(a).


[66]Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, 27 August to 7 September 1990, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.144/28/Rev.1 at 112 (1990), principle 4.

[67]Ibid, Principle 8.

[68]See for example: “One Dead in South Yemen Protests,” Al, July 25, 2009, http://www.Al (accessed October 29, 2009), and two persons were injured when police opened fire on demonstrators who blocked a road in Zanjibar, “New Targeting of One of Al Jazeera’s Journalists in Yemen,” Al, June 23, 2009, http://www.Al (accessed October 29, 2009).

[69]Human Rights Watch interview with Dr. Huda Alban, minister of human rights, San’a, July 19, 2009.

[70]Human Rights Watch interview with Abd al-Khaliq Muthana Abdullah, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[71]Ibid; see also Hammoud Mounassar, “Four Killed in Yemen Clashes,” Agence France Presse, May 31, 2009, reported:  “Earlier on Sunday, one Yemeni protestor was killed and five others wounded in clashes when police used firearms to break up a demonstration in Ad Dali’, north of the southern port of Aden, capital of former South Yemen. One protester, Tufiq al-Jaadi, died while being operated on in hospital. He was hit by a bullet,’ medical sources said after the incident. Witnesses said police exchanged fire with demonstrators who carried banners with slogans against the government. Violence broke out again at the hospital as police tried to arrest a wounded demonstrator, resulting in injuries to a policeman and a demonstrator, witnesses said.”

[72]Human Rights Watch interview with Muhammad Sa’id bin Sahil, Mukalla, July 14, 2009.

[73]Human Rights Watch interview with Father of ‘Awwadh Sa’d Baram, Mukkala, July 14, 2009.


[74]Human Rights Watch interview with Abd al-Nasir Salih Ahmad ‘Ubaid, Aden, July 10, 2009. See also Human Rights Watch interview with Abd al-Khaliq Muthanna Abdullah, Aden, July 10, 2009 (“I got to Hashimi Square around 8 a.m.. By the time I arrived, the square was very full. They had all the security agencies there, including Central Security [riot police], regular police, military units, you can’t always say for sure who they are. They were all around the square.”).


[75]Human Rights Watch interview with Nasr Nasr Abdullah Hamuzaiba, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[76]Human Rights Watch interview with ‘Abbadi Naji Ali Al-Suhail, Aden, July 13, 2009.

[77]Human Rights Watch interview with Muhammad Fadhil Haidar ‘Azab, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[78]Human Rights Watch interview with Abd al-Khaliq Muthanna Abdullah, Aden, July 10, 2009. As a movement activist, he witnessed this incident as well as the later one in al-Dhali` (see above), which is several hours away by car or bus.

[79]Mohammed Mukhashaff, “Three Killed as Police Disperse South Yemen Protest,” Reuters, May 21, 2009; “Yemen Denies Reports of Deadly Clashes,” CNN, May 22, 2009; Hammound Mounassar, “Yemeni President Urges Dialogue After Deadly Clashes,” Agence France-Presse, May 21, 2009.

[80]Human Rights Watch interview with ‘Abbadi Naji Ali Al-Suhail, Aden, July 13, 2009. Another wounded protester recalled: “We could hear the bullets hitting the walls of the hospital, so we got out of our beds and crawled to the wall. Then teargas fell on the balcony of the hospital, and smoke entered the rooms.” Human Rights Watch interview with Nasr Nasr Abdullah Hamuzaiba, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[81]Ibid.; “Yemen Denies Reports of Deadly Clashes,” CNN, May 22, 2009.

[82]Human Rights Watch interview with Karim Zain Thabit, Aden, July 10, 2009.

[83]Human Rights Watch interview with Karim Zain Thabit, Aden, July 10, 2009.

[84]Human Rights Watch interview with Ayman Salim Muhsin Ali, Aden, July 10, 2009.



[86]Human Rights Watch interview with Walid Qasim As’ad Shu’aibi, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[87]Human Rights Watch interview with Thabit ‘Ubaid Hazim al-Qahwari, Aden, July 12, 2009.

[88]Human Rights Watch interview with Thabit ‘Ubaid Hazim al-Qahwari, Aden, July 12, 2009.

[89]“Four Dead in Yemen Protests,” AFP, January 13, 2008 (claiming three protesters and a policeman died);

[90]Human Rights Watch interview with Abu Bakr Salih Abu Bakr al-Bakri, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[91] “YEMEN: Fissiparous Tendencies as Unrest Flares in South?,” IRIN, May 13, 2009, (accessed October 29, 2009).

[92] Human Rights Watch interview with newspaper editors, San’a, July 8, 2009.

[93]Nasser Arrabyee, “Yemen: Even Mountains Erode,” Arab Reform Initiative, June 3, 2009.

[94] Human Rights Watch interview with Al-Ayyam owners, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[95]Human Rights Watch interview with Al-Ayyam owners, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[96]Human Rights Watch interview with Abd al-Nasir Salih Ahmad ‘Ubaid, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[97]Human Rights Watch interview with ‘Isam Mahdi Ali, Aden, July 12, 2009.

[98] International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 49, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 993 U.N.T.S. 3, entered into force January 3, 1976, art.12.

[99]U UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Substantive Issues Arising in the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” General Comment No. 14, The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, E/C.12/2000/4 (2000), (accessed October 29, 2009).

[100]U UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, “Substantive Issues Arising in the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” General Comment No. 14, The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, E/C.12/2000/4 (2000), (accessed October 29, 2009).

[101]Human Rights Watch interview with Muhammad ‘Azab, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[102]Human Rights Watch interview with Walid Shu’aibi, Aden, July 11, 2009.

[103]Human Rights Watch interview with Thabit al-Qahwari, Aden, July 12, 2009.