CIHRS warns of “cosmetic” reform in Yemen

In United Nations Human Rights Council by CIHRS

Yesterday, Wednesday 26 September 2012, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) welcomed the steps taken by the government of Yemen to address rights violations within the country, including the recent signing of the Commission of Inquiry decree by the president- scheduled to look into rights violations committed during the revolution – and the agreement of the government to allow for a presence of the office of the UN High Commissioner on Human within the country.  Nonetheless, CIHRS expressed concerns that the reform and accountability efforts taken by the government of Yemen thus far remain highly cosmetic and insufficient.

CIHRS addressed Yemen during an oral intervention before the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council, currently convening in Geneva and scheduled to conclude on Friday.

The Council’s meeting on Yemen discussed an assessment report submitted by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights covering the human situation in the country during the period between January and June 2012. The report clearly indicates a serious lack of political will within Yemen to ensure accountability for all grave and widespread human rights violations which have been and continue to be committed throughout the country, including against protestors, journalists, human rights defenders and in the context of counter-terrorism.  This is in addition to attempts to use the worsening humanitarian crises in the country and the issues of security and counter-terrorism to distract from the need for true reform and accountability.

In this context, CIHRS addressed the current draft resolution proposed at the Council on Yemen, calling it to have met “the bare minimum required,” in light of the continued lack of accountability in the country and the existence of amnesty laws. Instead it stated that “the appropriate response would have been to establish an international investigation into violations against protestors and urge the establishment of an independent disarmament agency for non-state actors.

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