Do not Leave the Families of the Victims to the Atrocity of Possibilities

On the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, parties to the conflict must reveal the truth regarding the victims.

Sunday, March 24, 2024
Do not Leave the Families of the Victims to the Atrocity of Possibilities

Mwatana for Human Rights stated in a release coinciding with the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, observed annually on the twenty-fourth of March, "Civilians in Yemen endure the heavy toll of conflict in myriad ways, enduring constant anxiety and fear for the safety of their missing, abducted, forcibly disappeared, or arbitrarily detained loved ones, with no knowledge of their fate. They are unable to pursue justice or access the truth, remaining unaware of the circumstances and conditions of the violations they have suffered. Thousands of families, including victims of disappearances, abductions, torture, and extrajudicial killings, alongside other victims of severe violations and blatant breaches of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Yemen, await answers regarding their loved ones' fate and demand the disclosure of the truth. They persistently seek the truth, knocking on every door, while various parties and authorities disregard their plight and continue to violate numerous laws and human norms."

Mwatana further asserted, "Victims of various violations, their families, and acquaintances have an unequivocal right to access the complete truth, including the revelation of victims' fates, the circumstances surrounding the violations they have endured, their causes, and those accountable for them. This right stands as an independent and non-negotiable entitlement protected by diverse laws, and any actions impeding the exercise of this right represent a blatant violation necessitating accountability."

Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights, stated, "Conducting transparent and impartial investigations, collecting evidence related to human rights violations, and preserving it, as well as building a human rights memory, are essential guarantees for exercising the right to know the truth." She added, "Knowing the truth in its entirety is one of the most important tools of transitional justice, the sole path for reparations, achieving justice for victims, and a unique way to overcome the wounds of the past. It enables addressing the root causes that led to the violations and the surrounding circumstances, thus taking necessary measures to prevent their recurrence. Without full knowledge of the truth, all efforts remain incomplete and futile."

In its release, Mwatana stated that "since the beginning of the armed conflict in Yemen in September 2014 and until now, over the course of nearly 10 years, the conflict parties in Yemen have failed to adhere to the principles and rules of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in dealing with civilians, especially those detained. Thousands of arbitrary detained civilians have been subjected to enforced disappearance and various forms of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and many civilians have fallen victim to extrajudicial killings. Throughout these years, the conflict parties have shirked their various responsibilities towards victims of violations, failing to take any effective steps towards correction, truth-telling, or refraining from committing various violations. The prevailing culture of impunity has emboldened conflict parties in Yemen to continuously commit violations and evade any responsibilities or obligations towards the victims and their families."

Mwatana strongly urges all parties involved in the conflict to uphold their obligations under both national and international laws. This includes conducting transparent and impartial investigations into the violations committed by their respective forces. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of promptly addressing the demands of the victims and their grieving families, ensuring they receive information regarding the fate of their loved ones. This entails revealing the whereabouts of disappeared and missing persons and immediately releasing individuals detained arbitrarily. Additionally, Mwatana emphasizes the imperative to halt the practice of torture, harsh and humiliating punishment, and all other forms of inhumane treatment. It stresses the necessity of adhering strictly to the principles outlined in international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and relevant statutes. Mwatana also emphasizes the importance of holding all individuals involved in these violations accountable for their actions and ensuring they face justice accordingly.

Mwatana reiterated its calls to the international community to establish criminally-focused mechanisms for investigating human rights violations in Yemen, aiming to uncover the truth, hold those responsible accountable, ensure justice and redress for the victims. It also urged for the implementation of transitional justice programs that guarantee sufficient assurances to prevent the recurrence of violations, enable civilians to access their various legitimate rights, and live in peace.