Acts of intimidation and threats of travel restrictions faced by Mr. Nabeel Rajab - YEM 001 / 0710 / OBS 083

07/07/2010
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the acts of intimidation and threats of travel restrictions faced by Mr. Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Yemen.

According to the information received, on June 19, 2010, upon his arrival at the airport of Sana’a in Yemen, Mr. Nabeel Rajab was stopped, interrogated by two security officers about the aim of his visit to Yemen and his religious beliefs, and his luggage was searched between 3 and 6.30 pm, before being eventually authorised to enter the country. Upon his departure on June 23, 2010, Mr. Rajab was again stopped at the airport, submitted to a rough interrogation by a team of three security officers, including a security officer named Mr. Fayez Ali, his luggage was searched and his passport confiscated until his departure. During the interrogation, the officers used rude language and asked him about whom he met and the places he had visited in Yemen. After two hours, he was brought by the officers to the plane and asked not to come back to Yemen otherwise he would “face consequences”.

In August 2009, Mr. Nabeel Rajab had conducted an FIDH fact-finding mission on the situation of human rights in the framework of the fight against terrorism and security threats in Yemen. The findings of the report were published in January 2010[1] and Mr. Rajab was then visiting Yemen to present the report to the Yemeni authorities, civil society and diplomatic missions and to participate in a workshop aiming at discussing about the follow-up of the recommendations addressed to Yemen by the human rights mechanisms of the United Nations - in particular the Universal Periodic Review and the Committee Against Torture. Following these events, FIDH asked the authorities of Yemen for clarification regarding these acts of intimidation against its mission delegate but did not receive any reply.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the above-mentioned acts of intimidation and threats of travel restrictions in Yemen faced by Mr. Nabeel Rajab, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights activities and in particular the cooperation of Mr. Rajab and the organisation he is representing with UN mechanisms. The Observatory believes in this regard such travel restrictions unfairly and arbitrarily impair his ability and the ability of the organisation he is representing to address regional and international organisations and fora about human rights concerns, thus violating Article 9.5 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1998, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to unhindered access to and communication with international bodies with general or special competence to receive and consider communications on matters of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Yemen to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Nabeel Rajab;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment against Mr. Nabeel Rajab as well as against all human rights defenders in Yemen and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without hindrances;

iii. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, above-mentioned Article 9.5 and its article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Yemen.

Addresses:

· General Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic of Yemen, Sana’a, Yemen. Fax: + 967 127 4147

· His Excellency Dr Ghazi Shaif al-Aghbari, Ministry of Justice, Sana’a, Republic of Yemen, Fax: +967 1 222 015

· His Excellency Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, Minister of Foreign affairs, Sana’a, Republic of Yemen, Fax: + 967-1-536 952

· Her Excellency Houda ‘Ali ‘Abdullatif al-Baan, Ministry for Human Rights, Sana’a, Republic of Yemen, Fax: +967 1 444 833

· Ambassador Monsieur Ibrahim Saied Mohamed Al-Adoofi, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Yemen to the United Nations in Geneva, 19 Chemin du Jonc, 1216 Cointrin, Switzerland, Tel: +41 22 799 05 10. Fax: +41 22 798 04 65, E-mail: mission.yemen@ties.itu.int

· Ambassador Abdulwhab Mohamed ALSHAWKANI, Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Brussels 114 av. F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium. Tel: + 32 2.646.52.90, Fax: + 32 2.646.29.11, Email : yemen@skynet.be

Please also write to diplomatic representations of Yemen in your respective countries.

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