People in Yemen have endured a turbulent time following the 2011 revolution. As the political crisis between Shia Houthi rebels and the government intensified to all out conflict in 2015, the impact on civilians has been catastrophic. In 2015 and 2016 Yemen witnessed systematic human rights abuses and war crimes, displacing over 2.5 million people. The involvement international powers has culminated in foreign bombing campaigns and the further rise of religious extremism. Terrorist groups, Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda have carried out devastating campaigns in a bid to exploit the power vacuum in Yemen. As a result, there has been a drastic reduction in space for civil society. Despite a new constitution being announced in 2015, the conflict’s escalation has overshadowed any commitment to civic freedoms. Freedom of assembly is seriously curtailed due to threats from state and non-state actors, with protests frequently forcefully disbanded police and the military who use excessive and sometimes lethal force. Yemen is also one of the world’s worst performing countries for freedom of expression. Independent journalists are forced to take unimaginable risks to report from an extremely dangerous environment. Civil society organisations, especially those related to human rights and LGBTI issues struggle to survive in highly restrictive and dangerous conditions due to threats from state and non-state actors.
Civic Space Developments