Yemenity2010's Blog

Yemen Still Cause for Concern, According to UK Report

Posted in Blog Entry in English by yemenity2010 on 01/05/2014

kullarostadbearb”Widespread violations of human rights in Yemen continued during 2013, with the government showing limited capacity to improve the situation.” 

The very first sentence of a new report from the UK government.

So, what’s new? The government of the United Kingdom recently published a report on human rights and democracy around the world, including a chapter on Yemen, titled ”Yemen – Country of Concern”. Hardly unexpected, since that country always seems to be a source of concern for many concerned people inside and outside its borders. I stumbled on the current report thanks to a mention on another blog called The Wadi.

So, what’s the state of affairs in Yemen right now or at least during 2013, according to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office? Here are some excerpts: The minimum legal age for marriage has been an issue for some time now, since Yemen is one of the countries where a significant number of – yes, mostly girls – end up being married at a very early age. A so-called National Dialogue Conference has recommended changes, such as implementing av minimum legal age in this case, but really making it happen could take some time.

DSC06122Freedom of expression is said to have improved. Slightly, at least. The troubled nation is still parked among the lowest-rated in the World Press Freedom Index, currently 169 out of 179. Human rights defenders are still reported to suffer perscution. Yemen is presently ruled by what is called a transitional government as a result of the protests and upheavals that started in 2011 and which made long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh resign and leave the country. There is room for improvement when it comes to the justice system, according to the new report. Evidence-based convictions are not as common as they should be, apparently. No surprise there either. My personal impression, based on the few things I managed to learn during my one year in Yemen in 2010 was that the justice system is arbitrary, to say the least.

The death penalty is still used. A lot, probably. Earlier it has been sort of an official secret that many of the executions are carried out in secret, ‘off the record’ and all statistics on the matter are highly unreliable. The UK report specifically comments on the use of capital punishment for juvenile offenders, which is in fact ”prohibited under Yemeni law”. It is also claimed that African migrants have been captured on arrival and tortured to ”extort their family details”. Who’s doing this? The report does not accuse the government of being perpetrators (as far as I can see) but criticizes authorities for not doing enough about it. Furthermore, some 300 000 people could be displaced in the country, following armed conflicts going on there.

gitarrtriobearb1Women’s rights… Always an issue here. The report claims that Yemen is currently ranked at number 148 out of 148 nations in a UNDP Gender Inequality Index. (Note: I have tried to find that exact statistic at UNDP:s website, but so far I’ve got a little lost among their tables and hope to be able to explore the topic more later on, sometime). While there are progress in some areas, in others the trend is arguably going backwards. Women are, at least on the surface, getting more influence in politics, but some of the female activists are being ”co-opted by political parties”. There is also an important difference between educated women and the majority; poor, uneducated women who still remain outside any real sphere of influence. What springs to my mind is the gap between men and women concerning literacy rate. Although the situation seems to improve slightly, the majority of men are considered literate while the majority of women are not, according to all available statistics. And I suspect there is still a big difference between urban and rural areas when it comes to girls’ possibilities to get even basic schooling.

Economically, Yemen as a whole ”remains the poorest country in the Middle East” according to the report, suffering from ”high levels of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition”. Some cold, hard numbers:

– Approximately ten million Yemenis do not get enough food each day

– 13 million lack access to safe water or sanitation

– 7,7 million don’t have access to health care

These were some ‘highlights’ from the corporate report ”Yemen – Country of Concern”, published by the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office, 10 April 2014.


Fyll i dina uppgifter nedan eller klicka på en ikon för att logga in: Logo

Du kommenterar med ditt Logga ut / Ändra )


Du kommenterar med ditt Twitter-konto. Logga ut / Ändra )


Du kommenterar med ditt Facebook-konto. Logga ut / Ändra )


Du kommenterar med ditt Google+-konto. Logga ut / Ändra )

Ansluter till %s

%d bloggare gillar detta: