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Briefing note on Yemen

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Subject: Yemen

We condemn in the strongest terms the reported killing of a number of largely peaceful protestors in Sana’a and Taiz as a result of the indiscriminate use of force by Yemeni security forces since Saturday (15 October). Hundreds were reportedly injured by this disproportionate use of force against unarmed protestors.

We are extremely concerned that security forces continue to use excessive force in a climate of complete impunity for crimes resulting in heavy loss of life and injury, despite repeated pledges by the Government to the contrary. We reiterate our call for an international, independent, transparent investigation, for accountability and for justice. Those responsible for the hundreds of killings since the protest movement began in Yemen more than 8 months ago must be prosecuted, regardless of rank or title.

We also call on the Government’s armed opponents to remove weapons from public spaces used by peaceful protestors, and to stop launching armed attacks from densely populated areas.

We are also troubled that the living conditions for residents of Sana’a and Taiz have continued to worsen, hitting the poorest households most.

In response to a question on possible provision of prosecutorial immunity in the GCC deal:

We cannot comment on the specifics of the proposed deal. However, international law prohibits the use of amnesties that prevent the prosecution of individuals for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity or gross violations of human rights – so that would apply in this situation as in any other.

ENDS

For more information or media requests, please contact spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org) or press officers Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) and Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org).

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