Thursday, April 21, 2011

Amnesty warns that human rights activists in Yemen are under threat

Amal Basha, chairperson of the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights
Amnesty International yesterday reported that human rights activist Amal Basha, chairperson of the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) in Yemen, has been warned to take extra precautions as she may be under threat from security forces.

Basha is said to be suspected by the Yemeni authorities of passing information to the UN Security Council, and thus internationalizing the country's situation. Basha denies the claim.

Amnesty writes that she "received a telephone warning via her office yesterday morning telling her not to leave her home and to take extra precautions."

Amnesty is calling for the Yemeni authorities to investigate this threat to the leading human rights activist and take steps to ensure her safety.

An excerpt from the Amnesty report:

UN Security Council members were briefed on Tuesday on the situation in Yemen by UN officials in a closed session. The Council called for restraint and dialogue in Yemen but failed to agree on a statement.

The Security Council met on a day when at least three more people were killed during ongoing protests in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a.

Yemeni Central Security forces attacked protesters with water cannons, tear gas, batons and live fire.

Protesters were said to have thrown rocks in response to the use of force by security forces.

Those shot dead by the security forces included Anis Ahmed Abdu Saeed al-Usaydi, a SAFHR employee aged 32. The others who died were named as Nasser Muhammed Hizam and Abdul Latif Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad Omar.

Between 50 and 60 other protestors are reported to have been injured, many with gunshot wounds, when security forces opened fire on a demonstration by tens of thousands of protesters in Sana’a.

President Ali Abdallah Saleh has ordered an investigation of the incident and directed the Ministry of Interior to arrest and bring to justice those involved, according to Yemeni state news agency reports.

At least 120 people have been killed in months of anti-government protests in Yemen.

Four female doctors on their way to attend to the injured at a field hospital in Sana’a were arrested by members of Yemeni security forces on Tuesday.

All four, Dr Lamis Muhammad Saeed Dhafer, Dr Tasnim Ali al-Wafi, Dr Hiyam al-Qadesi, and Dr Iman al-Amisi were released at around midnight after civil society organizations had threatened that they would march to the Presidential Palace if they were not released.

In a report entitled, Moment of Truth for Yemen , issued on 6 April 2011, Amnesty International called on the international community to play a more active role if Yemenis are to get accountability for the bloody killings.

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