(12May, 2010 – Geneva) After being one of only two countries to ever fail to show up to its review at the 43rd session of the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) last November, Yemen was today present -upon its own request- at the 44th session of the committee. However, while a Yemeni delegation was present, substantive treatment of the grave situation of systematic torture in the country was wholly absent.
The Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) has documented in its reports to the CAT that the situation of human rights in Yemen has been deteriorating in the last decade, and cases of torture increasing. Torture in Yemen is committed by the national security, the politic security, the criminal interrogation department, at police stations, in detention centers, and by the anti-terrorism department under the Interior Ministry.
Ms. Amal Basha, Director of the Sister’s Arab Forum, who was subjected to harassment by the Yemen government after her organizations’ involvement in the 43rd Session of CAT, was present to update the committee on the continuing situation of torture in the country. However, in its state presentation, Yemen ignored substantive issues and focused on positive legal provisions. “Yemen looks good on paper. The problem is one of implementation,” said Ms. Basha, “The government systematically fails to protect its citizens from torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment.”
Despite the well-documented cases of torture in Yemen, the government has rejected visits from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. SAF and CIHRS strongly urge Yemen to accept a visit by the Special Rapporteur as a first step towards addressing the problem of torture. Moreover, SAF and CIHRS urge the government of Yemen to take concrete action to stop systematic torture and impunity.
Amal Basha (SAF) – +41 (0) 767 82 39 02
Jeremie Smith (CIHRS) – +41 (0) 767 17 24 77
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