A join Statement on the International Day against Torture

Impunity Fuels Torture and Ill-Treatment in Yemen

 A join Statement of International and Local Organizations, Including Members of the Justice for Yemen Pact, on the International Day against Torture, June 26, 2024


On this International Day Against Torture, we unite our voices to reaffirm our unwavering commitment against all forms of torture and inhumane treatment being perpetrated in Yemen.

 Civilians in Yemen continue to be victims of inhumane treatment and torture by all warring parties. This egregious trend continues due to widespread impunity in Yemen. Torture and ill-treatment are used not only to inflict physical pain, but also to intimidate opponents, extort confessions and suppress freedoms. Politicians, journalists, feminists, influencers and human rights activists are among those targeted.

 Despite several prisoner exchanges, including the release of over 887 prisoners in April 2023, many people remain in detention. Based on testimonies from former prisoners, many of whom have reported horrific experiences of torture, it is likely that many of those who remain in detention also face torture and other forms of inhumane treatment.

 We draw attention to the dire situation of abductees, arbitrarily detained individuals, and forcibly disappeared persons in Yemen. From 2016 to 2022, the Association of Mothers of Abductees, a member of the Justice for Yemen Pact, documented 2,643 cases of torture. This includes 2,446 cases of torture by Houthi groups, 150 cases by the Transitional Council, and 47 cases by the internationally recognized government.

The STC continues to arbitrarily arrest and forcibly disappear people and operates at least two unofficial detention centers.

 We also draw attention to the persecution of Yemen’s Baha’i community. During a peaceful gathering in May 2023, Houthi forces unlawfully arrested 17 Baha’is, including five women, pressuring them to renounce their religious beliefs — a clear case of religious persecution. Four of the 17 remain arbitrarily detained.

 We are deeply concerned by the Houthi authorities’ escalating campaign of repression against civil society, which has led to the arbitrary arrest and inhumane treatment of numerous UN and NGO staff. The UN Secretary-General has called for the immediate and unconditional release of all the detainees and stressed that humanitarian workers must be protected.

 The conflict has resulted in the Yemeni people being subjected to widespread abuses due to the lack of protection systems in place and the failure of the authorities to address violations and risks on the ground. Vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons, muhamasheen (“the marginalized,” an ethnic group in Yemen that faces historical discrimination) and refugees, face heightened risks of abuse. About 4.3 million Yemenis are internally displaced. 60% of them are women and children, who are at increased risk of gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, and denial of basic healthcare.

 Refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants also face major challenges. Migrants are exploited by smugglers and human traffickers across Yemen, and are abused by authorities. These abuses include sexual assault against women and boys and the denial of basic rights such as sanitary facilities, food and medical care. There are also reports that Saudi border guards have also killed at least hundreds of migrants on the Saudi-Yemen border.

 There are serious concerns about the treatment of women in Yemen, who are systematically discriminated against due to gender norms and political motives. Yemeni women’s freedom of movement is restricted, preventing many families and unaccompanied women from traveling or working. Reports of abuse and torture of Yemeni women in Houthi prisons, exemplified by cases such as Intisar Al-Hamadi, are also alarming. The Houthi movement in Yemen justifies its repressive actions against women as a means to combat “enemy propaganda.” As a result, women have become more vulnerable to social degradation and abuse.

 We unequivocally condemn the ongoing use of torture and grave violations against detained civilians by all warring parties. We hold all warring parties in Yemen fully responsible for the lives and safety of detainees. Combating torture and all forms of ill-treatment is a collective responsibility that requires action by governments, human rights organizations and local and international media. There can be no tolerance or justification for such acts under any circumstances.

We call on the United Nations and the Security Council to exert pressure and take action to hold perpetrators of torture in Yemen to account, and to end impunity and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. We call for accountability and justice to be an integral part of the ongoing peace negotiations mediated by the UN. Furthermore, we call for the establishment of an independent mechanism to investigate human rights violations and establish accountability to end all forms of impunity.


Justice4Yemen Pact,

June 26, 2024

Issued by:

      1. Abductees’ Mothers Association (AMA)
      2. Al-Amal Women’s and Sociocultural Foundation (AWSF)
      3. Center for Strategic Studies to Support Women  and Children (CSWC)
      4. Free Media Center for Investigative Journalism
      5. Marib Dam Foundation for Social Development (MDF)
      6. Musaala Organization
      7. SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties
      8. Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC)
      9. Watch for Human Rights (Watch4HR)
      10. Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations (YCMHRV)
      11. Al-Haq Foundation for Human Rights
      12. Building Foundation for Training and Development
      13. Together We Rise Foundation for Women and Child Care 
      14. Rasd Center for Rights and Development
      15. Sone menttes organization
      16. Yemeni Media Freedom Observatory (YMFO)
      17. Yemen center for Human rights studies 
      18. Lahj Human Rights Office and Lahj Women for Peace Initiative
      19. Kayan Foundation
      20. Corporación Conciudadanía – Colombia
      21. Women for Justice Foundation- Canada
      22. Defense Foundation for Rights and Freedoms.
      23. American Center for Justice 
      24. Organisation Nationale des Droits I’Homme et du Developpement Durable
      25. Need For Human Rights
      26. Human Development Foundation
      27. Women Relief Aid
      28.  Peace Track Initiative Foundation, Yemen Country Office – Aden
      29. Yemeni Landmine Records
      30. Committee Of The Families Of Kidnapped And The Disappeared, Lebanon
      31. International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
      32. Association of War Affected Women
      33. Former Lebanese political detainees in Syria
      34. Alrowad foundation for development” RFD
      35. Yemeni Network for Victims Associations (YNV)
      36. Siaq Organization for Youth and Development (SOYD)
      37. Ruwwad the Development and Human Rights Foundation
      38. Civil Commission for Houses Bombing Victims 
      39. Human Rights Watch
      40. Free Media Center for Investigative Journalism
      41. Messengers of Peace Organization