Freedom of expression continues to be severely violated in Yemen


According to a report released in October by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the freedom of expression continues to be severely violated in conflict-ridden Yemen. The report, entitled Let them speak: Media and freedom of expression targeted in Yemen, states that in the first semester of 2016 there were more than 100 press freedom violations in the country, including murders, abductions, disappearances, detentions and assaults. Eight journalists and two support staff were killed between March 2015 and September 2016. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, who are quoted in the report:

'Airstrikes, shelling, and street-by-street urban combat put journalists and civilians in Yemen at risk of death and injury. Media outlets and journalists are targeted, abducted or killed, as they carry out their important and legitimate work, and the right to freedom of expression is curtailed.'

The GCHR report highlights the vital role that independent media play in documenting and raising cases of human rights violations internationally, directing global attention to the conflict, and calling for justice, peace and human rights. The report calls upon the UN, Yemeni authorities and all parties to the conflict to enhance protection for the media and human rights defenders and for the creation of an international inquiry into the conflict in Yemen, a call which has been repeatedly made by civil society organisations but which has so far gone unheard.

On 28th October, Reporters Without Borders gave the Houthi forces in Yemen one of their mock 'Predator of Press Freedom' awards. The award was given to highlight atrocities that are being committed against the Yemeni press, particularly in areas of the country currently under the control of the Houthi movement.