Joint Statement the Occasion of International Human Rights Day

Every year, December 10th serves as a global reminder of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a benchmark that delineates the rights and freedoms owed to every individual as a human being in our world. On this International Human Rights Day, marked as the first global proclamation criminalizing all violations against civilians, the emphasis is placed on preserving their dignity and upholding their rights, as articulated in Article 3 of the Declaration “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person”. Nevertheless, we are deeply disappointed by the  ongoing and increasing violations of human rights in Yemen.

The war has claimed the lives of more than 377,000 people, including scores of civilians, since its outbreak, and Yemenis have endured a wide spectrum of violations that begin with the infringement of the right to life and personal security, such as killings and repeated attacks on Yemeni individuals, regardless of gender. Many civilians have been killed, injured, and forcibly displaced. According to the Mothers of the Abductees’ Association, nearly 10,000 civilians have been arbitrarily detained by all parties. Continuous violations also include imposing restrictions on freedom of expression and journalism.

Since 2014, Yemen has been recorded as one of the worst countries in terms of violating the rights of journalists and media workers, according to Reporters Without Borders. Journalists remain among the most vulnerable groups, not to mention the constraints on the women’s movement and the restriction of their civil liberties. SAM organization documented over 5,000 cases of violations by the end of 2022, including killings, physical injuries, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and torture.

Additionally, UN estimates reveal that Yemen hosts over 4 million internally displaced people (IDPs), with 73% being women and children. Moreover, the majority of displaced women, facing challenges in accessing education and healthcare, endure violations of their fundamental rights due to displacement. Landmines pose a significant future threat, along with the crushing of civil justice, targeting of religious minorities, restrictions on civil society organizations, blocking of vital roads, attacks on healthcare and educational facilities, and the obstruction of humanitarian aid. According to a recent report by the Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations and Watch for Human Rights, members of the Justice4Yemen Pact, there are 250 verified cases of grave human rights violations against children by all parties to the conflict.

Despite the ongoing negotiations and the decrease in active hostilities, parties to the conflict have continued to violate human rights throughout the country. Yet, the perpetrators remain beyond the reach of justice, secure from punishment. International mechanisms of justice are obstructed from continuing their work in Yemen, presenting a clear challenge to the endeavor of reinstating these rights and laws, making them a living reality. Despite the harsh and complex context currently faced by Yemen, we strongly reaffirm our commitment to human rights principles, vowing to defend them and confront all forms of violations.

In light of this commitment, we call upon human rights organizations, international institutions, and all those working in the field of human rights to prioritize and intensify collaborative efforts to promote and protect human rights worldwide, including Yemen. Our statement today serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting the values of justice, equality, and human dignity.

In this joint statement, we reiterate the significance of justice and emphasize the need to ensure its realization through the following: –

  • All parties to the conflict should immediately cease all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law and work towards a solution that achieves peace and stability in Yemen.
  • All parties to the conflict should be committed to international human rights law and humanitarian law and ensure adherence to international standards for human rights.
  • The international community should demonstrate a  serious commitment to  working to protect civilians from all violations they face, without compromising these efforts for political negotiations.
  • Donors should continue to ensure the provision of humanitarian aid to meet the humanitarian needs of people in Yemen.
  • The international community should direct international and humanitarian support to meet the needs of civilians affected by war and displacement, providing essential services, including healthcare, education, and shelter.
  • All parties to the conflict should end their recruitment of children, which constitutes a blatant violation of human rights, exposes children to danger and harm, and consequently, the international community should take immediate action to prevent and combat this violation, as well as enhance psychological and social support for children involved in conflicts, ensuring they have access to necessary healthcare and education services.
  • Domestic actors should promote women’s rights and ensure their full participation in all aspects of life. The international community should provide support for women and protect them from any forms of discrimination and gender-based violence.
  • Domestic actors should provide good educational opportunities for women and girls, and promote women’s representation in government and leadership bodies.
  • Authorities should respect press freedom and ensure full protection for journalists and media professionals. They should also support press freedom as an essential part of human rights and as a building block for free and democratic societies.
  • Authorities should support and enhance the role of government institutions in providing high-quality services and contributing effectively to the development of societies to achieve sustainable development and social well-being.
  • Parties to the conflict and the international community should integrate the principles of accountability and justice into political negotiation processes to contribute to building stable and fair communities, enhancing trust in peace processes, and ensuring the rights of victims and reparations.
  • All authorities should provide equal opportunities for persons with disabilities in education, healthcare, employment, and participation in decision-making. Also, their effective and comprehensive representation in various fields and their full integration into society.
  • Authorities should respect minority rights, including providing minorities with legal protection, guaranteeing their rights to access essential services such as education and healthcare, and promoting understanding and peaceful coexistence.
  • The international community and domestic authorities should support human rights organizations and provide financial support and necessary resources to enhance their capabilities in achieving desired results in promoting legal support and protecting activists and human rights defenders, ensuring their safety and their right to work freely. Additionally, they should support human rights organizations’ efforts to organize effective events and initiatives to raise awareness of human rights.
  • All Yemeni authorities and the international community should push for the establishment of an international mechanism for accountability and justice for all cases of human rights violations.

Finally, on International Human Rights Day, we renew our commitment to working diligently and continuously to defend human rights in Yemen. We reiterate our call for justice, equality, and respect for human dignity, believing that human rights are non-negotiable, and we will continue the struggle to achieve them through all available means. On this International Human Rights Day, we declare that “Justice is All that Yemen Needs.”

Justice4Yemen Pact

December 10, 2023

Issued by:

  1. “The Right to Me” Foundation for Women’s Political and Economic Empowerment
  2. Abductees’ Mothers Association (AMA)
  3. Advocacy for Rights and Development Organization
  4. Afghan women news agency
  5. Afghanistan Women Solidarity Group
  6. Alamal Women’s and Sociocultural Foundation
  7. Al-Haq Foundation for Human Rights – Iraq
  8. ALKARAM- Geneva
  9. American Center For Justice (ACJ)
  10. Arab Women Parliamentarians network for Equality and Equity
  11. Basma Development Association
  12. Cameroon women’s peace movement
  13. Canada’s Feminist Forum for Afghanistan
  14. Center for Strategic Studies to Support Women and Children
  15. Committee Of The Families Of Kidnapped And The Disappeared in Lebanon
  16. Con-Citizenship Corporation
  17. Defense Foundation for Rights and Freedoms
  18. DT Institute
  19. Equality for Peace and Development
  20. Eradah Organization to Combat Torture and Forced Disappearance
  21. European Arab Center for Human Rights and International Law
  22. Food4humanity Foundation
  23. Free Media Center for Investigative Journalism
  24. Hope Advocates Africa
  25. Human Rights Watch
  26. International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
  27. Karama Organization for Human Rights
  28. Madaniya
  29. Marib Dam Foundation for Social Development
  30. Musaala organization for human rights
  31. Qarar foundation for Media and Development
  32. Ruwwad the Development and Human Rights Foundation
  33. Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC)
  34. SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties
  36. The Yemeni Coalition to monitor Human Rights Violations- YCMHRV
  37. Urkino for promoting human rights
  38. Washington Center For Yemeni Studies
  39. Watch for Human Rights (Watch4HR)
  40. Women Advocacy committee
  41. Women are children legal Research Foundation
  42. Women Relief Aid -South Sudan
  43. Women Research and Advocacy Network
  44. Women’s center for guidance and legal awareness
  45. Women’s Development Research and Studies Center at Taiz University
  46. Yemen center for Human Rights Studies
  47. Yemeni Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violations and Torture (will & hope)
  48. Yemeni Media Freedom Observatory (YMFO)
  49. Yemeni women’s voices platform
  50. Zenobia Association for Syrian Women