In an event held in the occasion of Human Rights Day

In response to the questions of the attendees, Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana, said that the least Yemen deserves is an international criminal accountability mechanism, a mechanism capable of collecting and preserving evidence..

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
In an event held in the occasion of Human Rights Day

Human Rights Defenders: Accountability for violations in Yemen is a must

December 8,2022In conjunction with Human Rights Day, Mwatana for Human Rights organized today a discussion event on the human rights situation in Yemen in which Dutch Ambassador to Yemen Peter Derek Hoff, representatives of human rights organizations, and Yemen-based human rights defenders participated online via Zoom platform.The event was facilitated by Osamah Al-Faqih, Advocacy Director of Mwatana, who introduced the attendees. He then gave an overview of what Mwatana does in this field and of the general human rights situation in Yemen. In the event, Osama pointed out the importance of discussing the issue of enforced disappearance and arbitrary detentions in order to increase advocacy in this field.Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights, opened the event by saying that Mwatana's celebration of Human Rights Day is an affirmation of Yemen's connection to the world and of the universality of human rights that should not be enjoyed by only certain communities. She also said that Mwatana chose the issue of arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and torture as the focus of this event. They are patterns of violations in which all parties to the conflict in Yemen are equal. She also thanked the Dutch ambassador and the Dutch embassy for supporting Mwatana to be able to provide legal support to the victims of such violations in Yemen and to contribute to making a positive impact on the lives of many of them. In the end, Radhya Al-Mutawakel confirmed that there are other local individuals and organizations that contribute to the same end, and congratulated the lawyer, Afra Al-Hariri, for obtaining a "Not Guilty" verdict for the journalist Hala Badawi in Hadramout.For his part, Dutch Ambassador Peter Derek Hoff spoke about the role of the Dutch government in supporting peace projects and legal accountability for all perpetrators of human rights crimes in Yemen, in which all parties to the conflict in Yemen have been implicated.He expressed his discontent of the failure of the continuation of the humanitarian truce, "which should have reached a permanent political settlement had it not been for the Houthis' stubbornness that prevented that," he said. Peter pointed out that the issue of supporting human rights and women's rights in Yemen is part of the Dutch government's policy linked to its global policy.He expressed disappointment of not renewing the mandate of the United Nations Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, which played a significant role in terms of documenting human rights violations and presenting them to the Security Council.Peter stressed the need to establish a mechanism of legal accountability to hold all parties involved in human rights violations in Yemen accountable, in order to ensure that no other crimes are committed in the future.Peter also expressed his deep gratitude to all human rights defenders in Yemen who have been making great efforts for years under a difficult humanitarian and security situation.For her part, Banyan Jamal, Director of the Legal Support Unit at Mwatana for Human Rights, spoke about the role of the Legal Support Unit in dealing with cases of its concern. She explained the used work mechanism, in terms of monitoring and documentation, through field visits, ensuring the validity of all information, submitting the needed reports, and providing the necessary legal support by the lawyers of the organization.Lawyer Etab Mohammad, a member of Mwatana's legal support team in Hadramout governorate, presented some of the challenges and obstacles facing lawyers in the field, citing the case of journalist Hala Badawi, who was acquitted of all charges against her earlier yesterday. She presented some of the threats and harassment she was subjected to due to her follow-up on this case. Lawyer Nawal Al-Hilali, from Taiz, presented some of the difficulties and challenges she faces as a lawyer during her work in providing legal support to victims.On the other hand, Hussam Al-Aryani, a lawyer at Mwatana, said that since the beginning of 2022, the Legal Support Unit of Mwatana has contributed to the release of 370 victims in 18 governorates, out of 500 cases of arbitrary detention documented by Mwatana. The organization documented that 76 of these victims were tortured. He also said that the organization's lawyers continue to provide legal support for more than 400 cases.Al-Eryani explained a number of obstacles and threats that the lawyers face while performing their work, including the difficulty of traveling between cities, their being stopped by the military checkpoints personnel and preventing them from continuing their way, the difficulty of visiting places of detention - especially of military sites subject to shelling - the officials' refusal of demands to release detainees, and the fear of some of the victims' relatives of the violating parties.Najla’a Fadel, representative of the Abductees' Mothers Association, also spoke about the Association's role in pursuing cases of arbitrary detentions. She said that the Association listened to hundreds of detainees who were subjected to many violations and physical and psychological torture, and that the Association documented the killing of more than 80 detainees in places of detention. She pointed out that the Association has sought and continues to seek bringing anyone involved in arbitrary arrests against any person to legal accountability in order to stop these serious violations.The representative of Musaala for Human Rights, Salem Bin Jalal from Ma'rib, also spoke about the role of human rights organizations in documenting human rights violations and working to demand that perpetrators are held accountable and violations are reduced.Nasser Al-Khulaifi, from the Dameer Organization for Rights and Freedoms in Shabwa governorate, reviewed the human rights and humanitarian situation in Shabwa and how the intermittent wars have contributed to an increase in cases of various violations. He stressed the need to establish an international mechanism to investigate allegations of human rights violations and hold local and international parties involved in human rights crimes in Yemen accountable.In response to the questions of the attendees, Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana, said that the least Yemen deserves is an international criminal accountability mechanism, a mechanism capable of collecting and preserving evidence. She affirmed the determination of Mwatana and its partners to move forward in this direction, hoping that the international community will not let Yemen down again at the session of the Human Rights Council next March.The event ended with the song “Lovers of the Day”, which was produced by Mwatana, with special permission from the late poet Abdulaziz Al-Maqaleh.