Yemen: the True, the Sad and the Bizarre

The US State Department released its 2008 report on Human Rights Practices today, so of course I was interested in the Yemen report. I have to say they nailed it. To follow are one liners:

- Enforcement of the law was irregular and in some cases, particularly those involving suspected security offenses, was nonexistent. Ouch!

-Other unauthorized private prisons reportedly existed at the National Drug Company, the Yemen Television Corporation, the MOI, and the Ministry of Religious Guidance.

-According to HRW, among those released in August are former (ed- government appointed) mediation committee member Shaikh Salih al-Wajman, who had been jailed at the MOI for two years.

-In June 2007 the government suspended the text message news service sponsored by Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC). The head of WJWC, Tawwakul Karman, unsuccessfully appealed the decision. The government instead suspended all text message news services, eventually restoring all except those of WJWC and the Islah-affiliated Nass Mobile Service. Karman staged sit-ins throughout the summer of 2007 in an attempt to overturn the ruling.At year's end WJWC's news text message service remained suspended, despite a parliamentary order allowing it to be reestablished, according to WJWC.

-There were no new government cloned newspapers during the year.

-On March 30, a sit-in in Dhale' of more than 200 young men protesting the lack of acceptance of southerners into military service was broken up by security authorities with live bullets and tear gas.

-Unlike the four previous years, the government allowed the people of Saada to celebrate Ghadeer Day, a holiday celebrated by some Shia. However, media outlets reported that government officials used the occasion to arrest individuals allegedly associated with the Houthis.

-(This has been irking me since 2005. Some things are hard to wrap your head around as an American, forced conversion among them.) The government also... reassigned some imams who were thought to espouse Shia ideology or Zaydi doctrine, replacing them with Shafi'i or Salafi preachers---There were credible reports that authorities banned publishing of some materials that promoted Zaydi-Shiite Islam.

-Local NGOs also alleged that deceased citizens were registered as voters.

-The headquarters of the Union for Popular Forces was seized by armed men and the party was forcibly recreated under dubious circumstances.

-Many government officials received salaries for jobs they did not perform or multiple salaries for the same job.

-The rape victim was often prosecuted on charges of fornication after the perpetrator was set free...According to the law, a woman may not refuse sexual relations with her husband; accordingly, spousal rape is not criminalized.

-The MOHR announced in April 2007 it was launching a nationwide hotline to receive complaints on abuses of human rights; it was unclear how many domestic violence cases the MOHR hotline received. Hotline service was interrupted due to technical difficulties.

- The MOI and PSO tolerated and unofficially facilitated prostitution and sex tourism through corruption for financial and operational gain.

-Most women had little access to basic health care.


-The government lacked the political will and necessary resources to ensure adequate education, health care, and welfare services for children.

-Women's groups reported FGM rates as high as 90 percent in some coastal areas, such as Mahara and Hodeida

-Two inflammatory government newspapers, Al Dostor and Akhbar Al Youm, continuously published propaganda for the purpose of slander and incitement to discrimination or violence.

- CHF 2007 estimated that approximately 52 percent of male children between the ages of 10 and 14 were in the workforce, compared to 48 percent of female children in the same age group.

-Local observers reported that half or more of the fighters involved in armed conflict between the al-Osaimat and Harf Sufian tribes in Amran governorate, which broke out in November, were boys ranging from 12 to 15 years of age.

Really a good report, comprehensive and accurate, Kudos to State.

Posted by: JaneNovak at 10:28 PM

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