Human Rights Watch translation, Letter dated May 8, 2014 but received May 20, 2014.
Republic of Yemen
President of the Republic, and
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
To: H.E. Dr. Abu Bakr Al-Qirby
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Subject: Response to HRW's requests for information regarding the abuse of migrants' rights in the north of the country.
In reference to the above subject, and in response to your memo 1/1/130/574, dated 20/4/2014, we hereby enclose the answers and clarifications requested in HRW's memo of 10/4/2014 on the abuse of African migrants' rights by traffickers in the north of the country, as follows:
1. The MOD had instructed its forces charged with guarding the borders to raid the refugee camps previously monitored, in order to gain knowledge of what goes on inside the camps, and to apprehend its operators, report and deliver them to the competent security authorities, so that they may be investigated according to the requirements of the law.
2. Migrants released during government raids on trafficker camps numbered about 7000 Africans, including 5000 Ethiopians and 2000 Somalis. Along with these, there were smaller numbers of Eritreans and Chadians. The MOD is adamant to continue its efforts to fight human trafficking in border areas, especially the area and environs of Haradh, and to refer those involved in such crimes to the competent security authorities, that will enforce the lawful, deterrent penalties.
3. There is no evidence of [government officials ‘selling’ migrants at checkpoints]. We confirm that military and security checkpoints are performing their duties with professionalism and honor. Those allegations are fallacious and are propagated by traffickers for purposes of misinformation and deception, targeting the heroes of both security and armed forces, who monitor their activities. We received information that some members of those gangs disguise themselves in military and security uniforms during their operations, giving the impression that the perpetrators are military personnel, in order to fend off suspicions. We therefore contacted the relevant intelligence authorities, to verify those allegations and take the necessary measures against proven cases, referring suspects for investigation.
4. No case of collusion on the part of a Yemeni official has been proven. In the event of hard evidence coming to light, to prove the complicity of an official in these crimes, the official would be referred to the competent authorities to be held to account in accordance with laws and regulations.
5. Those allegations are untrue. It has never been proven that any officer at a checkpoint was involved in receiving cash payments in exchange for allowing the passage and transfer of migrants to Saudi Arabia, and therefore we have nothing to address and act vigorously against.
In consequence, we hope that you will base your upcoming report, on human trafficking of African migrants in northern Yemen, on the contents of this letter. Please accept our sincerest appreciation and respect.
Lt. Gen. Ahmad Hussain al-Aqeely
Assistant to the Minister of Defense for Public Policy and International Cooperation