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Moment of truth for Yemen

April 6, 2011 Comments off

reliefweb

 

“The shooting started from different buildings around the same time and continued for more than 30 minutes.”

An eyewitness describing to Amnesty International an attack on a protest camp in Sana’a on 18 March 2011 which reportedly left 52 people dead.

The first few months of 2011 have seen a rapid deterioration in the human rights situation in Yemen. The most shocking manifestation of this has been the brutal repression of protests calling for reform, and increasingly for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down, fuelled by frustration at corruption, unemployment and repression of freedoms in the country and partly inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt. Scores of protesters have been killed and hundreds injured after security forces have repeatedly used live ammunition to break up demonstrations.

The response of the authorities has been woefully inadequate. While investigations have been announced into some of the killings, they inspire little confidence. In some cases, almost no details have been made public about the nature and scope of the investigation. In others, information revealed about the nature of the investigating body raises serious questions about its ability to conduct thorough, independent and impartial investigations. As far as Amnesty International is aware, the judicial authorities have launched only one investigation – into the killings of protesters on 18 March. No judicial proceedings against members of the security forces are known to have been opened.

The track record of the authorities in investigating allegations of serious human rights violations by the security forces is very poor. Crucially, they have failed to adequately investigate reports of massive violations committed in the context of the unrest in the south Read more…