Journalists and humanitarian worker killed as conflict continues

Expression

As we've previously covered in the CIVICUS Monitor, the conflict in Yemen shows no sign of abating as civilians, journalists, human rights defenders and humanitarian workers continue to be killed, disappeared and targeted. Fierce ground and air attacks in the raging battle to retake western coastal governorates from Houthi armed groups has led to dire conditions for people trapped in the conflict. In this highly dangerous context, credible documentation of human rights abuses perpetrated against civil society have been reduced to a trickle. 

In late March, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported an attack on the offices of a media foundation which publishes two newspapers. On 23rd March 2018, armed attackers stormed into the office of the Al-Shamaa Foundation for Media in Aden. Seven people were abducted in the raid and money, cameras, and other recording equipment was taken. The foundation is responsible for the publication of several newspapers, including the daily Akhbar al-youm and the weekly al-Shomou. This is not the first time that the foundation has been targeted, on March 1st 2018, the foundation was raided by unknown assailants who destroyed the organisation's printing equipment. 

In a separate incident on 13th April 2018, a missile attack killed one journalist and injured three others. Abdullah Al-Qadry, a photographer and camera operator for the privately owned station Belqees TV, died from injuries while covering clashes in Bayda province. Belqees TV correspondent Khalil Al-Taweel and Yemen Shabab TV correspondents Thiab Shatir and Walid Al-Jaouri were also injured by shrapnel in the attack. In a statement, the broadcaster blamed Houthi rebels for orchestrating the attack which killed the journalists. International groups have also used the incident to draw attention to the desperate situation for journalists, in another statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said: 

"The death of Abdullah al-Qadry is only the latest tragic reminder of the immense risks that journalists take to cover the fighting in Yemen. Journalists are civilians, not combatants, and all sides in the conflict have a duty to safeguard them.

According to CPJ's monitoring of the situation, at least three other journalists have been killed in Yemen since January 2017. In addition, a number of others have been kidnapped with their whereabouts currently unknown. 

In a more recent example, on 7th July 2018 several journalists were abducted in Dhamar and Yemen's capital Sana'a. Journalist Iyad al-Wasmani was beaten and abducted outside of his home in Dhamar by unknown assailants, believed to be Houthi rebels before being taken to an unknown location. Iyad al-Wasmani's abduction comes just days after Houthi militia abducted a journalist working for Saba news agency  from outside his relative's home, and mere hours after the abduction of a sports journalist Abbad al-Jaradi, who was kidnapped from the Al-Wehda Club in Sana'a. No further information regarding the welfare or whereabouts of the three abducted journalists could be found at the time of writing. 

Association

On 21st April 2018, Lebanese humanitarian worker Hanna Lahoud was shot and killed by an armed gunman. Lahoud was was en route to visit a prison, when the car he was travelling in was attacked by armed and unknown individuals on motorcycles. The car had stopped outside a market in the al-Dhabab area of Taiz when the gunmen opened fire on the vehicle. According to a statement by Lahoud's employer, the International Committee for the Red Cross, the attack was deliberately targeted against the humanitarian aid worker. 

Peaceful Assembly

Al-Araby reported protests in May 2018 on the Yemeni island of Socotra against the growing presence of the UAE. According to the report, hundreds of Socotra islanders gathered in the principal city Hadibu on 8th May 2018, waving Yemeni flags and demanding Emirati troops withdraw from the island. According to the report, protesters called on President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi's government to protect Socotra's unique natural environment from what they said was damage caused by Emirati construction projects on the island.