Yemen : Harsh repression is not over !

Press release

While the Yemeni authorities have tried to deceive the international community and accept a mission of the Office of the High commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) , they have renewed and intensified the harsh repression against the Yemeni people as soon as the United Nations delegation was out of the country on July 5, 2011. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) warns the international community about an imminent risk of a humanitarian crisis in Yemen along with ongoing repression across the country.

Since the evening of July 4th, some Yemeni governmental forces, in particular the Republican Guard Unit and the Anti-terrorist Unit have intensified attacks against civilians in Taez. Yemeni NGOs have reported the use of shelling, including heavy weapons, tanks and artillery bombardment in the residential neighbourhoods of Taez, and in particular in Al-Rawdah district. These attacks allegedly led to the death of at least 6 people and have caused serious material damage according to Yemeni independent organisations. One of the main hospitals of the city “Al-Thawrah” has been converted in a military site . The al-Rawdah district is close to Tahrir square, the nerve center of the demonstrations in Taez. Despite the ongoing repression against demonstrators, some demonstrations are still organized in the city. Similar attacks have also been reported in several cities. Authorities justify these acts as a legitimate response to attacks perpetrated by local tribesmen. Yet, reliable independent sources deny this information and assure that the main targets are peaceful demonstrators and, by extension, the local population.

The city of Taez has been under siege for the past several weeks. Access to water, food, electricity, gas as well as health care have been restricted. While it was already the case before the mission of the OHCHR, the situation has deteriorated since the departure of the UN delegation. Such situation is similar in most of the main cities, and threatens the Yemeni population with a high risk of humanitarian crisis.

In addition, the almost complete shortage of oil prevents, among other things, the collection of waste and threatens the population of these cities with an important health risk.

FIDH urges the Yemeni authorities to put an immediate end to these highly reprehensible acts against their population.

Furthermore, FIDH expresses its utmost concern regarding the ongoing violence in Yemen and urge all parties to refrain from using violence and to guarantee the protection of civilians. It also reiterates the duty of the Yemeni government to respect the right to peaceful assembly.

FIDH calls upon the international community and in particular, the OHCHR to take into account these latest developments in its assessment of the human rights situation following its 10-day mission in Yemen and to hold the Yemeni authorities accountable for these acts. Finally, FIDH calls upon the United Nations Human Rights Council to respond appropriately and without further delay to the ongoing violence and serious human rights violations committed by the Yemeni authorities.

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