Yemen: Harassment of Sister's Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF)
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 the Republic of Yemen. The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of numerous acts of harassment against the Sister's Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) and its Chairperson, Ms. Amal Basha.
According to the information received, in the evening of November 22, 2009, the SAF offices in Sana'a were broken in and entered into. After breaking the windows, individuals entered into the offices. Premises and archives were searched, but nothing was stolen, not even valuable electronic devices. A complaint was filed at the police headquarters and an investigation is currently going on.
Furthermore, on November 20 and 21, 2009, Ms. Amal Basha received approximately fifty anonymous phone calls from the same number, all immediately hanged up by the interlocutor, except one in which the interlocutor said he was working for the investigation department and used an intimidating tone. Recently, Ms. Amal Basha was also attacked by a young man as she was leaving the tribunal after observing a court hearing. Using the method used by fundamentalists to attack uncovered women, the young man sprayed water to her head and face with a syringe, thereby attempting to frighten and intimidate her. Moreover, on November 17, 2009, the brakes of Ms. Amal Basha's car would have been deliberately sabotaged.
These acts of harassment follow the publication by SAF on October 12, 2009 of a report on torture in Yemen, as well as a joint briefing note in September 2009 on the human rights situation to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review of the Yemen in September 2009. The original copy of a film produced by SAF on the discrimination faced by the Akhdam1 was also confiscated three months ago by the national security services at the airport in Sana'a, who alleged that it was tarnishing the image of Yemen abroad. Finally, SAF had recently carried out several activities in the framework of its campaign for peace in Saada.
The Observatory condemns those acts, which seem to be aimed at hindering and sanctioning the human rights activities of SAF and Ms. Basha, and therefore contravenes the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998.
Please write to the Yemeni authorities and ask them to:
1 A social group in Yemen distinct from the majority by their more African features, who is discriminated against and mostly confined to menial jobs.
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Amal Basha as well as of all members of the Sister's Arab Forum for Human Rights ;
ii.Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned events, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring all those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against Ms. Amal Basha, the members of the Sister's Arab Forum for Human Rights as well as all human rights defenders in the Republic of Yemen;
iv. Conform in any circumstances with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, 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”, 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”;
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Republic of 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
· Her Excellency Houda ‘Ali ‘Abdullatif al-Baan, Ministry for Human Rights, Sana’a, Republic of Yemen, Fax: +967 1 444 8333
· Ambassador, Mr. 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, Mr. 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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Please also write to diplomatic representations of the Republic of Yemen in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, November 24, 2009
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:
· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80