Womwn perform during a demo for the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, outside Carondelet presidential palace in Quito on November 25, 2013. AFP PHOTO / JUAN CEVALLOS (Photo credit should read JUAN CEVALLOS/AFP/Getty Images)

Human Rights activists roundly condemn Houthi militia’s atrocities against women in Yemen

Arab and Yemeni human rights defenders and activists have condemned in the strongest possible terms the brutal atrocities, crimes and violations committed by the Houthi militia and group of deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh against the women in Yemen.

Speakers condemned these human rights abuses terming them as “bereft of human sense” and said the perpetrators had no regard for the sanctity of women in Yemen.

These crimes, they underscored, had drawn severe criticism and condemnation from the international community as they constituted flagrant violations of the international conventions and declaration of women’s human rights.

The human rights defenders were speaking at a landmark event organised by the Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR) on the sidelines of the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to expose the heinous crimes perpetrated by the Houthi militia against the Yemeni women. The event topped the list of anti-human rights activities that were discussed in Geneva.

Taking the floor first, Dr. Mona Hejres, a member of the AFHR and head of ‘Together for Human Rights’, spoke about the scale of suffering that the Yemeni women endured, ranging from violations to war crimes committed by the Houthi militia and Saleh group ever since they took control of Yemen and toppled the legitimate government.

Dr. Hejres said women, during the rule of the deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh, had been subjected to grave human rights violations, noting that women were active participants in the revolution that drove Saleh out of power.

During that revolution, she said, women had faced many human rights crimes including killing, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and use of excessive force. These savage crimes, she added, made women the most vulnerable segment of the Yemeni community to face gross violations, exclusion and oppression.

Being deprived of their political, cultural and social rights, as well as their freedoms and role in running the state’s affairs and contributing to the nation’s development and building modern Yemen, Yemeni women have since been on a tireless struggle for their rights and freedom.

In her paper, Dr. Hejres elaborated on the suffering of Yemeni women at the hands of the Houthi militia and Saleh group, particularly reporting on murder, forced disappearances, kidnappings, deprivation of basic educational and health services, bombardment of residential districts, along with assassinations in the capital Sana’a, Aden and other cities.

She called upon the international community to live up to its responsibilities in protecting the Yemeni people, especially women, and back the Arab Coalition’s operations seeking to protect the Yemeni people. She also appealed to the UN Security Council to protect world peace and security by swiftly enforcing its resolutions on Yemen and ensure protection, safety and security for its people, and particularly women.

During the event, a number of heads of Yemeni human rights associations and organisations and members of the Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations carried out by the Houthi militia and Saleh group in Yemen, confirmed that the suffering and violations committed against both, the Yemeni people and women in particular, were monitored and documented in its report, published by the Human Rights Council a week ago.

The report requested the international community and the UN Human Rights Council to work on activating their international mechanisms to protect the Yemeni people and to prosecute the war criminals belonging to the Houthis and Saleh military militias.

The AFHR and the Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations, reiterated their rejection of the West’s move regarding a request to form an international Facts Finding Committee, as they perceived that such a move would dilute and ignore the human tragedy under which the Yemeni citizens have been reeling, especially when they are facing illegitimate and terrorist groups which practise terrorism and commit crimes against peaceful Yemeni civilian citizens in all areas of Yemen.

They also see in this move a way to create another Syria and a repetition of what happened in Iraq, stressing the importance of the international community rallying efforts to implement its international resolutions when it comes to those crimnals.

At the event, Maryam Al Ahmadi, an activist at the Arab Federation for Human Rights (AFHR), underlined the importance of prosecuting war criminals affiliated to Al Houthi militia and the Saleh group and not giving them any chance to escape punishment or any political consecration in Yemen.

She also indicated the need to work hard to drag the Houthi militia and the Saleh group to face international justice, stressing the role played by the Arab Federation for Human Rights to accomplish this in cooperation with a lot of regional and international bodies.

In the same context, she also emphasised the importance of the international community assuming its international responsibilities aimed to provide protection to women during wars and armed and military conflicts and disputes.

Maryam bin Tawq, Coordinator at the Arab Federation for Human Rights, spoke about the importance and legitimacy of establishing the international coalition “Operation Restoring Hope,” aimed at protecting the Yemeni people from violations and crimes against humanity being carried out by al-Houthi group and the Saleh Militia, monitored by the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Human Rights.

She also pointed out that the Centre has found that those criminals have committed more than 4,500 human rights violations within the course of just one month of their control of Sana’a.

She added that some of these crimes can very well be considered as war crimes or crimes against humanity. In this regard, she noted that the Centre has also provided some figures pertaining to the number and nature of violations committed by the Houthi militia

and Saleh group against the Yemeni citizens, stressing the need to continue to support the legitimacy of the ‘Operation Restoring Hope’ that came after well considered decisions and was aimed at meeting humanitarian needs, as well as to provide protection to the Yemenis and their right to live in security and peace in their country.

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