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UN Committee expresses its deep dismay concerning the continuing child executions in Yemen

GENEVA (12 December 2012) – The Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Jean Zermatten, on Wednesday expressed his deep dismay concerning the execution of a girl, Hind Al-Barti, which took place in Sana’a, Yemen, on 3 December 2012, saying it was a clear violation of a binding UN treaty.

“According to the information we have received, Hind Al-Barti was around 15 years old at the time of the offence,” the Chairperson of the Committee said. “She was executed in violation of Article 6 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child proclaiming the inherent right of every child to life; and of Article article 37 (a), which provides that neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by minors.”

“It is deplorable that this execution took place despite assurances given by Yemen, to the Committee in June 2005, that the death penalty, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons for having committed crimes when under the age of 18, had been abolished by the Penal Code,” the Chairperson of the Committee said.
According to a variety of sources, 14 juveniles were executed between 2006 and 2010. On 18 January 2012, a further juvenile offender was reportedly executed.
These executions are also a serious infringement of the commitment undertaken in 2009 by the Government of Yemen, under the Human Rights Council process known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to ensure compliance with its obligations under article 37 (a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yemen committed not to impose capital punishment for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age; to ensure that the death penalty is not applied to minors; to review the use of the death penalty on minors and mentally disabled persons and to take immediate steps to remove juvenile prisoners from death row.

“We are not only outraged that child offenders continue to be executed in Yemen, in flagrant contravention of international law, but we are also deeply concerned over the increased number of sentences of capital punishments pronounced against children,” the Chairperson of the Committee said.

In total, 21 juvenile offenders, all under 18 years at the time of the commission of the offences, have been condemned to death, with an additional 186 alleged juvenile cases reportedly still threatened with execution.

“According to the information transmitted to us, Waleed Hussein Haikal and Mohammad Abduh Qasim al-Taweel (both aged 15 at the time of the commission of the offence) and Mohammad Taher Samoum in Ibb (aged 13) have had their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court. The verdict was reportedly ratified by the President and these youths are said to be at great risk of being executed.”

“We urgently appeal to the Government of Yemen to immediately stop the executions of juvenile offenders and to take effective measures to remove juvenile prisoners from death row.”

ENDS

United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child – http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/index.htm

For more information:
Jean Zermatten, Chairperson of the Committee : + 41 78 843 54 23

Learn more about the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org

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