Security Council | Urgent action needed to protect Yemeni human rights defenders

In a joint letter sent on 5 May to all ambassadors at the UN Security Council, international NGOs share key facts about the shrinking civil society space in Yemen. They urge the ambassadors to take action and raise these concerns with the Government of Yemen and the Houthi-Saleh forces.

Over a dozen human rights organisations have sent a letter to all UN ambassadors, urging them to take action and protect human rights defenders in Yemen. The letter draws particular attention to recent efforts by the Government of Yemen to silence renowned Yemeni human rights advocates and civil society leaders.

The organisations also wrote to express serious concern regarding continued arbitrary arrests, detentions, and harassment of advocates and activists by Government forces in northern Yemen.  Of particular concern is the case of Radhya Almutawakel, the chairperson of the Mwatana Organization for Human Rights.  Despite their internationally recognised and priceless work on the situation in their country, Almutawakel and her colleagues at Mwatana have been beaten, harassed, and detained numerous times by the Houthis—the group the Yemeni Government now claims Mwatana are ‘covertly supporting’.

The NGOs who signed the letter therefore call for all UN ambassadors to urge the Government of Yemen to respect its international human rights obligations. The letter also invites all parties to the conflict to respect the rights of human rights defenders and civil society actors.

Read the letter here

Photo: Commons Wikipedia

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