Women face rise in domestic violence due to coronavirus lockdown in Yemen, report says 

Women face rise in domestic violence due to coronavirus lockdown in Yemen, report says 
Levels of domestic violence and sexual harassment of women in Yemen are estimated to have increased by 63 percent in the last five years due to the conflict, according Yemeni Women Union. (File/AFP)
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Updated 09 June 2020

Women face rise in domestic violence due to coronavirus lockdown in Yemen, report says 

Women face rise in domestic violence due to coronavirus lockdown in Yemen, report says 
  • The restrictions of the COVID-19 lockdown and quarantine, together with extreme economic stresses, have led to dramatic jumps in incidences of domestic violence in many countries and Yemen is no exception

DUBAI: Recent reports of violence against women since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in Yemen indicate that the levels of violence have risen further, a report published by the London School of Economics said.
The Yemeni Women Union (YWU) continues to record cases of violence against women despite the reduced opportunities women have to report violence or access services due to government restrictions, which is believed to indicate that levels of violence have increases, the report said. 
The restrictions of the COVID-19 lockdown and quarantine, together with extreme economic stresses, have led to dramatic jumps in incidences of domestic violence in many countries and Yemen is no exception, Noha Yehya of the YWU said.
Levels of domestic violence and sexual harassment of women in Yemen are estimated to have increased by 63 percent in the last five years due to the conflict, according to the report. 
The YWU believes the shifting roles of security forces in imposing COVID-19 restrictions present further risks to women in countries like Yemen where there are “few curbs on power and widespread impunity.”
Amid the attempt by the government to contain the spread of the virus, YWU warned that services to prevent violence and support survivors have reduced. 
The demands of the coronavirus response have already led to a diversion of funding away from services for women and girls, according to the report. 
The United Nations agency for sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA, estimates that without adequate funding, 48,000 women could die due to a lack of sexual and reproductive health services.


Fears of Iraq execution spree after Daesh attack

Fears of Iraq execution spree after Daesh attack
Updated 25 January 2021

Fears of Iraq execution spree after Daesh attack

Fears of Iraq execution spree after Daesh attack
  • More than 340 execution orders “for terrorism or criminal acts” were ready to be carried out
  • The orders came after twin suicide attacks claimed by Daesh killed 32 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD: Rights defenders fear Iraq may give the green light to a spree of executions of convicted militants in a show of strength, days after a deadly suicide attack in Baghdad.
On Sunday, an official from Iraq’s presidency told AFP more than 340 execution orders “for terrorism or criminal acts” were ready to be carried out.
“We are continuing to sign off on more,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The orders were disclosed to AFP after twin suicide attacks claimed by the Daesh group on Thursday killed at least 32 people in a crowded open-air Baghdad market.
The blasts were a jolting reminder of the persistent threat posed by the jihadists, despite the government declaring victory over them in late 2017.
The official, along with judicial sources contacted by AFP, could not provide additional details on when the executions may take place or if they included foreigners convicted of belonging to IS.
A 2005 law carries the death penalty for anyone convicted of “terrorism,” which can include membership of an extremist group even if they are not convicted of any specific acts.
Rights groups have warned that executions were being used for political reasons.
“Leaders resort to announcements of mass executions simply to signal to the public that they’re taking... (these issues) seriously,” said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The death penalty is used as a political tool more than anything else,” she told AFP on Sunday.
In mid-2018, outgoing Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi announced 13 executions under the Counter-Terror Law, and for the first time authorities published pictures of the hangings.
That came after Daesh killed eight civilians.


Since the official declaration of victory over Daesh, Iraq’s courts have sentenced hundreds to death for crimes perpetrated during the jihadists’ 2014 seizure of around a third of the country and their brutal three-year hold over cities including Mosul.
But only a small proportion of the sentences have been carried out, as they must be approved by the president.
Barham Saleh, who has held the post since 2018, is known to be personally against capital punishment, and has resisted signing execution orders in the past.
Some Iraqis took to social media to demand tougher action from Saleh after Thursday’s attack, accusing him of “not carrying out the sentences” and risking a prison break.
Despite Saleh’s moderating influence, Iraq in 2019 carried out the fourth highest number of executions among nations worldwide, after China and Iran, according to Amnesty International.
Iraq carried out 100 executions that year — one out of every seven worldwide.
Judicial sources told AFP at least 30 executions took place in 2020.
They include 21 men convicted of “terrorism” and executed at the notorious Nasiriyah prison in November.
The move sparked condemnations from the United Nations, which described the news as “deeply troubling” and called on Iraq to halt any further planned executions.


Rights groups accuse Iraq’s justice system of corruption, carrying out rushed trials on circumstantial evidence and failing to allow the accused a proper defense.
They also condemn cramped conditions in detention centers, saying those arrested for petty crimes are often held with hardened jihadists, facilitating radicalization.
Iraq’s government has declined to provide figures on detention centers or prisoners, including how many are facing terrorism-related charges, although some studies estimate 20,000 are being held for purported Daesh links.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said late last year that given such gaps in Iraq’s legal system, implementing capital punishment “may amount to an arbitrary deprivation of life by the State.”
Ali Bayati, a leading member of Iraq’s Human Rights Commission, told AFP the country had “limited options.”
“Capital punishment is part of the Iraqi legal system — and we do not have real rehabilitation centers,” he said.
“We lack clear guarantees and real transparency in the interrogation and ruling sessions, and in allowing human rights organizations to play their role.”