“There are no rights without sustainable peace, and no peace without a just political settlement”
September 20, 2021 – Coordinated by the human rights and political tracks of the National Reconciliation Movement and at the invitation of Mrs. Houria Mashhour, co-founder and member of the Supervisory Council, the movement held a high-level event yesterday evening, Sunday, where His Excellency the Minister of Human Rights Ahmed Arman and the human rights activist Tawfiq Al-Humaidi, head of SAM Organization were guests of honor. The event aimed to discuss the human rights situation in Yemen especially after the Houthi executions of a group of civilians from Tihama region, including a minor, without fair legal procedures.
In his speech, His Excellency the Minister listed Yemen’s losses due to the armed conflict in terms of human and material victims, including the dead, wounded and captured fighters, which include children, in addition to tens of hundreds of civilian casualties. He also touched on the forced displacement of entire societies. He pointed out that accountability cannot be executed professionally during the war and those who claim to carry it out are doing so as a means of political pressure since trials in the midst of war cannot be fair.
He also talked about a major problem in the way the international community deals with peace in Yemen, because pressures to stop the war must be directed to the aggressor who is rejecting the peace initiatives, but what is happening is pressure is made on the weaker party and this appears even in the statements issued by the Secretary-General and some of the western countries towards recent executions by the Houthis.
According to the minister, “We work now to document violations in a way that preserves victims’ rights and those of the society in general, so as to allow the adequate implementation of transitional justice in the post-peace phase. We must not underestimate the importance of documentation by civil society, activists, and government agencies.”
The minister added that there are difficulties in verifying information, especially in Houthi-controlled areas, especially in light of the risks that activists and human rights defenders are exposed to. He also pointed out that there are human rights violations in the areas under the control of legitimate government, mainly due to the failure of implementing the Riyadh Agreement and therefore the government is unable to fulfill its obligations, noting that the Ministry of Human Rights is in a difficult situation due to the absence of state institutions and capabilities and in light of the multiplicity of military forces on the ground, most of which are unorganised. However, partial procedures are carried out with the available human and material resources. There are many decrees issued in areas under the control of legitimate government that could not be implemented, and there are more complications due to the political conditions in the south.
Professor Ayoub Al-Hammadi, the lead founder of the movement ignited the spirits through a fiery speech and reminded the attendees that peace is the solution, saying, “In the National Reconciliation Movement, we seek, through common denominators, to preserve and protect human dignity regardless of who they are. We cannot ignore the violations that occurred during the war, especially since there are long-term effects in Yemeni society, because of the armed conflict. Therefore, we, in the movement, must play the balancing role bringing the conflict parties together because the continuation of the war will only lead to more destruction in Yemen. We must strive to build a modern civil state that enforces equal citizenship and good governance.
Activist Tawfiq Al-Humaidi talked about the role of civil society in defending human rights and how there are great challenges facing the organization as part of the human rights community, such as financial, professional and security challenges, threats and difficulty in accessing information and resources.
“I receive more than 100 complaints and cases of violation daily, and we are exposed to severe psychological pressure, especially since we are a civil society organisation, not a state. But what motivates us to continue is the hope that what we do will do justice to the victims in the future when the opportunity comes, and now our messages may reach the concerned authorities and contribute to saving lives.”
On the other hand, Dr. Al-Maqhafi and Ms. Nabila Al-Hakimi, the directors of the political and human rights tracks respectively, spoke to the spirit of the movement encouraging intensified efforts to end the conflict. They demonstrated that there are prospects of peace and stability and the recovery of rights and compensation for the violated rights.
The participants in the event enriched the discussion with their questions and comments, expressing their concerns about the continuation of the war and that the citizens cannot bear more pressures. Stressing that peace does not come only through silencing the sound of guns, but rather with the formation of the modern civil state through comprehensive national reconciliation that does not neglect transitional justice. Working towards peace and preventing the recurrence of these violations standing up for the victims.