Houthis committed over 5,000 cases of rights violations: Report

Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, wearing an army uniform, ride on an armed truck to patrol the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, in this March 28, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 06 April 2017

Houthis committed over 5,000 cases of rights violations: Report

HAIL: The Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations found that Houthi and Saleh militias committed more than 5,000 human rights offenses, including more than 200 enforced disappearances, during 2016, according to its annual report.

The report included 5,092 violations, of which, there are 4,882 documented cases of arbitrary detention, 210 cases of enforced disappearance, the majority committed at the hands of the Houthis and ousted Saleh forces, which constitutes about 95 percent of the total cases. Security forces committed 124 violations, about 2 percent of the total.
The report, a copy of which was obtained by Arab News, showed the documented breaches affirm that 2016 witnessed the greatest waves of arbitrary arrests implemented by Houthi and Saleh militias that included women and children. The majority of detainees were subjected to brutal, degrading, inhumane and severe treatment at the hand of their jailers.
The report cited stories told by the detainees on the use of both physical and psychological torture, as they were kept prisoner in the underground basements of houses and schools used as secret prisons. Dozens were detained in small and dark rooms without ventilation. Many detainees suffered skin diseases and infections as a result of lack of hygiene. They were prevented from contacting their families or having lawyers assigned to defend their rights.
Arbitrary arrests and abductions documented in the report also included women, thus ignoring and bypassing all moral and ethical values, and humanitarian customary traditions. The actions criminalize forcing women and children to enter political conflicts, and armed conflict in particular, according to the report.
Monitoring field squads of the Yemeni rights coalition documented 20 cases of violations of women who were arbitrarily arrested; 19 cases were implemented at the hands of the Houthi militias, and one case by an unknown party.
Meanwhile, during 2016, 115 children were subjected to arbitrary arrest. The report also documented three cases of enforced disappearances among children, all of whom were detained inside Houthi and Saleh secret prisons.
Politicians were among the most affected by arbitrary arrest and disappearance. The report said that cases of violations that included politicians numbering 1,032, of which 942 political figures were subjected to arbitrary arrests while 90 persons were subjected to enforced disappearance.
Activists and human rights defenders came in the third within this category of violations, with the total number of violations amounting to 702, of which there were 662 cases of arbitrary arrests and 40 cases of enforced disappearance.
Meanwhile, the uprising against the Houthi and Saleh militias continued following attacks raged by their militias against the tribes and sheikhs in Yemen.
These divisions came after Houthis abducted many children and forced them into the war. The militias also abducted tribesmen who refused to fight with them and enforced their disappearance inside secret prisons.
The Houthi teams continued to scour the towns and villages under their control to drag young people to fight with them.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al-Mikhlafi said that Houthi militias continue to detain Defense Minister Mahmoud Al-Subaihi, Nasser Hadi and Mohammad Qahtan, and thousands of the others abducted and arrested.
The Kingdom’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, also confirmed that the continued disappearance of Al-Subaihi at the hands of the Houthi militias, as well as the disappearance of Qahtan and Hadi.

Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

Updated 26 min 31 sec ago

Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

  • Heads of state, officials from EU and Arab League member countries to attend summit today
  • Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries

CAIRO: Egypt on Sunday will host heads of state, government officials and representatives from EU and Arab League member countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Bahrain’s King Hamad.

Refugees and illegal immigration will top the agenda amid the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Syrians constitute the largest refugee population in Europe, followed by Eritreans then Afghans. 

According to unofficial statistics, Syrians are also the largest refugee population in the Arab world, followed by Yemenis, Libyans and Sudanese.

Hossam El-Khouli, secretary-general of the Egyptian Nation’s Future Party, said: “The EU … should call for the repatriation of refugees if conditions are appropriate.”

He said: “As for the right of asylum … a number of countries have granted asylum to criminals who have committed violent crimes against their own people and homelands.”

Summit participants intend to debate the necessity of combating this kind of migration, especially given its impact on the security and economy of many countries. 

Margaret Azer, an Egyptian lawmaker, said a country’s economic conditions are one of the main drivers of illegal immigration. 

“The decline of political conditions in several countries is (also) contributing to the rise in numbers of people seeking illegal immigration,” she told Arab News. 

“For example, we see that the biggest percentage of immigrants in Europe are from countries like Syria and Libya. The reason could also be religious or sectarian persecution, as is the case in Myanmar.”

Frontex President Fabrice Leggeri said although the number of migrants arriving in Europe dropped to 150,114 in 2018 compared to 204,750 in 2017, the agency continues to support border controls by providing more workers and technology.