Arrest of Ms. Karman Tawakkol and e attack sustained by Ms. Bushra Alsurabi

Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arrest of the President of Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), Ms. Karman Tawakkol, as well as about the attack sustained by the Executive Director of the same organisation, Ms. Bushra Alsurabi.

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.

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, on October 12, 2010, a peaceful demonstration, organised in Sana’a to support the Aljashen displaced people, was violently repressed by the Yemeni authorities. The demonstrators were attacked by the security forces, and about 40 people were arrested, among whom Ms. Karman Tawakkol. She was detained during three hours and reportedly subjected to ill-treatment.

Additionally, Ms. Bushra Alsurabi was injured during the demonstration, when security forces sprayed some incendiary substance over her. She was brought to the hospital with two other persons.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the above-mentioned acts of harassment, which seem to merely aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.

Actions requested:

The Observatory urges the authorities of Yemen to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Karman Tawakkol and Ms. Bushra Alsurabi;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment against Ms. Karman Tawakkol and Ms. Bushra Alsurabi 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”, article 5(a), which states that “for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, to meet peacefully”, 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.


· 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:

· 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 :

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

Paris-Geneva, November 2, 2010

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

* E-mail:

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

* Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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