Civil Society Organizations Affirm the Legitimacy, Lawfulness, and Independence of Their Operation

Call for the Release of Detainees and an End to Defamation Campaigns Against Them

Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Civil Society Organizations Affirm the Legitimacy, Lawfulness, and Independence of Their Operation

Since early June, security forces affiliated with the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group authorities have raided the homes and offices of employees working for various international and local organizations. They have confiscated and searched their phones and electronic devices without disclosing any charges against them. These surprise raids occurred at different times during the night, with the homes and offices surrounded beforehand. The whereabouts and status of the detainees have remained unknown since their arrest, and they have been denied contact with lawyers or family members, constituting enforced disappearances and violating legal norms.

On the evening of Monday, June 10, 2024, a statement by the Houthi Security and Intelligence Service announced the discovery of an alleged American-Israeli spy ring. Following this, Al Masirah TV, the Houthi-affiliated channel, broadcasted a video featuring what were described as confessions from a group of detainees who were employees of the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, which has been closed for nearly a decade. This broadcast was part of a major media campaign filled with serious and unsubstantiated accusations against humanitarian organizations and their staff.

The undersigned civil society organizations, working across various sectors and regions of Yemen, hereby assert:

Commitment to Non-Harm Principle: Our operations are guided by the principle of causing no harm to individuals, communities, and states. This principle underpins all our interventions and activities, aimed primarily at creating positive impacts for millions of civilians. We uphold this as an ethical and institutional commitment, requiring heightened professional and ethical sensitivity among our humanitarian and development workers.

Adherence to International and National Laws: All our activities and programs comply with international charters, principles, and Yemeni national laws, ensuring the humanitarian and developmental goals that serve millions of Yemenis are met transparently, honestly, and independently.

Full Compliance with Yemeni Laws and Judicial Authority: We operate in full compliance with Yemeni laws and judicial authority under all circumstances.

Willingness to Address Legal Complaints: We are prepared to respond to any legal complaints against our staff and to be accountable for any proven violations through a fair judicial process.

Categorical rejection and clear condemnation of any attempts to utilize its operations, programs, and activities for the benefit of any foreign state or any political actor, and for any illegal acts, and for any acts that affect the integrity of Yemen, as a state and society.

Integration with Yemeni Society: Our staff are integral members of Yemeni society, motivated by deeply-rooted Yemeni values of cooperation, aiding the vulnerable, and promoting good.

Necessity of Dialogue: We emphasize the importance of dialogue with all authorities and parties as the best means to exchange views, clarify any misunderstandings regarding our activities and programs, and explore ways to improve the functioning, freedom, independence, efficiency, and integrity of our operations.

Non-Adversarial Stance: We do not see ourselves in absolute opposition to any party and strive to foster cooperation with all to alleviate the war’s impact on millions of civilians.

Significant Contributions: We highlight our substantial contributions in assisting millions of civilians during the war and stress the urgent need for our continued work and programs for the benefit of these populations.

Adherence to Rights and Protections: We assert all rights guaranteed by the Yemeni Constitution and laws for our staff, particularly protection from abuse of power, presumption of innocence, protection from enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, mistreatment, the right to freedom and dignity, procedural justice, protection from defamation, and the right to a fair trial, including the right to legal representation and appeals.

Regulated Donor Relations: Our relationships with donors are governed by written project agreements subject to oversight, evaluation, and auditing, in line with the principles of unconditional, non-directed support for humanitarian, developmental, and human rights programs.

Finally, the undersigned civil society organizations call for:

* Immediate release of all detainees.

* An end to defamation, incitement, and unfounded accusations, and the need to stop these practices immediately.

* Opening and enhancing channels for dialogue to address any issues and misunderstandings.

* Recourse to the regular judiciary for accountability regarding any legal transgressions.

The undersigned civil society organizations call on all civil society institutions and their staff to unite in facing these risks and challenges, to enhance the independence and freedom of civil society work, and to improve the quality and impact of their programs and operations.


1- Mwatana for Human Rights

2- Association of Mothers of Abductees

3- Dameer Foundation for Rights and Freedoms

4- Mussala for human rights

5- PASS Foundation - Peace for Sustainable Communities

6- Foundation for the Protection of Law and the Promotion of Social Peace

8- Peace and Building Foundation

9- Adalah Foundation for Legal Development

10- Together We Rise Foundation for Women and Children Care

11- Yemen Center for Human Rights Studies

12- Resonate Yemen Foundation

13- Rowad Foundation for Development

14- Percent Foundation for Opinion Research andTransparency Promotion

15- Waai Foundation

16- Maali Foundation for Development

17- Droop Alamal Foundation

18 - Youth Without Borders Organization for Development

19 - Marib Dam Foundation for Community Development

20- Yemen Without Conflict Foundation

21- Siaq Organization for Youth and Development

22 - Wasl Peace Organization

23 - National Organization for Community Development

24- Develop your community organization

25 - Shahid Bin Habrish Development Foundation

26 - Aden Foundation for Rights and Development

27 - Democratic Youth Foundation

28- Watan Foundation for Development and Training

29-Ruaa Foundation for Development

30-Al-Amal Women’s Social Foundation

31-Joud Foundation for Sustainable Development

32-Watan Foundation for Development and Training

33-University Youth Foundation

34-Inqaz Foundation for Development