Yemen: Union reports 134 rights violations in 2019

In an annual report published by the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), the union reports 134 violations of media and journalists' rights in 2019. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the Syndicate in condemning those attacks and repeated its call for the release of imprisoned journalists.

Credit: YJS

According to YJS's report media violations range from killings, torture and kidnapping to cases of blocking websites and denying proper coverage of daily news. According to the report, all warrying parties are responsible for such attacks

In light of the hostile environment caused by the civil war between the government and the armed Houthi movement, working as a journalist in Yemen is a perilous task. The report records 15 cases of torture, more than 30 kidnappings and dozens of attempted murders and beatings. Two journalists, Ziyad al-Sharabi and  Ghaleb Belhash, were killed. Since the beginning of the civil war in 2015, 35 journalists have been killed.

The report also points out that public media professionals working outside areas officially controlled by the government, have not been paid since at least 2017. Nearly 1,000 journalists working in public information institutions (television, radio and newspapers) living in the areas controlled by the Houthis suffer from a humanitarian crisis and stifling living conditions that threaten their lives and the lives of their families.

The IFJ demanded the release of tortured journalists in April 2019, to no avail. The federation has also joined the YJS in a call to the Southern Transitional Council in Yemen, to halt aggression against media. 

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary, said: “We have warned again and again against the lack of safety for journalists working on the ground and we are exteremly concerned that the warring parties continue to use media as targets in total impunity. We join our affiliate in demanding all sides of the conflict respect press freedom and the basic human rights of all journalists. The impunity for crimes against journalists must stop".