Concern: Call to End Impunity for Killers of Journalists in Yemen
We are writing as the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organisation of journalists representing over 600.000 members in more than 140 countries, to urge your government to address the issue of impunity for violence against journalists in Yemen.
The IFJ’s principal mandate is to promote and defend the rights of journalists, including the right to life and physical safety. In this regard, we constantly monitor violations of our members’ rights around the world and we publish an annual report on journalists and media staff who are killed for no other reason than the legitimate practice of their profession.
On the UN’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the IFJ has launched its annual campaign to ‘End Impunity for violence against journalists’, focusing on Yemen, Somalia, Russia, Mexico and India. We are mobilising our 187 affiliates worldwide to highlight the impunity in these countries. You can view the campaign here.
Forty-four journalists were killed in Yemen between 2010 and September 2020, many of whom lost their lives since the beginning of the war in areas under your control.
According to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), none of the perpetrators has been brought to justice.
We are particularly concerned by the absence of an independent judiciary and inadequate security conditions which make the death toll and the conditions to report even more difficult.
In addition to the killings, Yemeni media workers suffer arbitrary detentions, injuries and threats on a daily basis. They often face media restrictions or closures and self-censorship out of fear of reprisals. They are regularly prevented from covering news and face the suspension of their salaries. Yemeni media has become highly polarised along political and sectarian lines and we regret that media professionals are too often, considered by the warring factions as the enemy.
The latest Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS)' report on the state of media freedom in the country lists 88 attacks against journalists and media from January to end of September 2020. The crimes range from targeted killings, imprisonment, attacks on media houses, shutdown of media and confiscation of newspapers to death threats, harassment and assaults.
Most of these violations were committed by the armed groups and states involved in the war. The YJS cites both warrying parties as those mainly responsible for the attacks against media workers this year.
In addition to the reported killings, 20 journalists are still missing, after being illegally detained or kidnapped while four journalists held by security forces under your command have been sentenced to death on charges of "treason and spying for foreign states" in arbitrary trials.
Today we warn you against the state of deterioration of press freedom in Yemen and your need to promptly act to ensure the safety and security of our colleagues reporting on the ground.
None of the crimes against journalists can go unpunished.
Today, we demand justice and urge you to dispel the impression of indifference in the face of deadly assaults against journalists. There is so much more that can be done with a genuine commitment to fighting impunity. It needs to start with justice, for the victims of violence.
IFJ General Secretary