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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 (afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Yemen
Represented by 17-member delegation headed by Ms. Hooria Mashhoyr Ahmed.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Yemen page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Congo, Czech Republic and Viet Nam.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Yemen page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • Significant headway had been achieved in recent years in the area of human rights; however there were still a number of shortcomings and gaps being experienced in Yemen;
  • Since the drafting and consideration of the first UPR report in 2009, the situation in Yemen has changed significantly largely resulting from the Arab Spring;
  • The Government which came into power in 2011 has endeavoured to strengthen the principles of human rights throughout the country.  The new Government set off a period of political transition through which it has called upon all to respect human rights, including the right to peaceful assembly;
  • The situation experienced in the south of the country posed particular challenges for the realization of human rights.  A committee was set up to determine the population of the southern provinces in view of the 1994 war;
  • The Government drafted a bill to establish an independent national human rights institution in conformity with the Paris Principles which will enable national human rights actors to play a more active and efficient role in the country;
  • The Government approved the accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and instructed the competent authorities to complete the procedures for its ratification;
  • The Government adopted legislation on the minimum age of marriage, which aimed particularly to uphold the rights of girls.  This Bill was preliminarily approved in February 2009 and set out that the minimum age should be 18.  The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, during her recent visit to Yemen, advocated for this decision to be implemented;
  • The National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, established in 2012, formulated a national strategy on human trafficking and drafted a bill on the subject;
  • Through a decision adopted in 2013, the Government endorsed a partnership agreement between the Government and civil society organizations which should be passed soon and will in effect facilitate the work of civil society actors in the country;
  • The Government drafted of a new constitution which sought to uphold good governance and the principles of freedom, justice, equality and respect for human rights;
  • The rights of the most vulnerable groups – women and children and the poor – were specifically targeted by the Government in their human rights policies and programmes. A national observatory for children’s rights was currently being established.  Yemeni women participated actively in public life.  The head of delegation noted that Yemen would soon appear before the CEDAW;
  • The Government adopted a national comprehensive strategy to fight terrorism which had a strong focus on human rights. Yemen sought welcomed the decision of the United States to free all Yemeni citizens from Guantanamo and to rehabilitee and reintegrate them into society.

Participants

In total 78States participated in the dialogue: 31 HRC members and 47 observers  (Statements available on the Yemen page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The on-going development of the country’s human rights action plan;
  • The ratification of the Convention Against Torture;
  • The establishment of a national human rights institution and efforts to develop a national human rights strategy;
  • The recent successful conclusion of the National Dialogue and the robust representation of women and youth in it;
  • The transitional programme for stabilization and development 2012 – 2014 to stabilize the political, security and economic situation;
  • Efforts taken to eliminate discrimination against women

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The death penalty and its use for punishing non-violent crimes;
  • Discrimination against women and girls, domestic violence and early, forced and child marriage;
  • The slow progress made in creating a legal framework that effectively protects human rights defenders;
  • Freedom of expression and the rising incidences of assaults on journalists and bloggers;
  • Inequality in school enrolment rate between boys and girls;
  • Recruitment of children into armed forces.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Yemen.  These pertained to the following issues, among others:

  • To take urgent steps to set the minimum age of marriage at eighteen years and  to end the practice of early- forced marriage;
  • To continue efforts to establish an independent national human rights institution, in-line with the Paris Principles;
  • To announce a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its abolition and to ensure that it is not imposed on minors;
  • To take action to eradicate harmful practices such as female genital mutilation;
  • To cease threats against journalists, to take steps to guarantee and promote freedom of expression and to investigate intimation and threats against journalists;
  • To protect women and girls from domestic violence;
  • To further promote girls’ access to education, particularly in rural areas;
  • To enhance the role of women in society and in decision-making processes;
  • To bring national policies and legislations in-line with relevant obligations under the CEDAW Convention;
  • To further increase efforts in order to totally eradicate the recruitment or use of children by armed forces and armed groups;
  • To draft a national human rights strategy;
  • To take further measures to protect the human rights of migrants;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture; the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; the Convention on Migrant Workers; ILO Convention 189 on Domestic Workers;  the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on a communication procedure; the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols; the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and  the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Yemen is scheduled to take place on Friday, 31 January 2014.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts:
Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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