INTERNATIONAL. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned Friday's reported killing by Yemeni security forces of at least 33 people who had been participating in demonstrations in the capital, Sana’a.
“The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the continuing violence and instability in Yemen,” his spokesperson said in a statement, noting the use of live ammunition by the security forces. Reports indicate nearly 150 others were injured when armed men in plain clothes opened fire on protesters.
“He reiterates his call for utmost restraint and reminds the Government of Yemen that it has an obligation to protect civilians. He calls on all to desist from any provocative acts that might lead to further violence.”
Yemen has been hit by widespread demonstrators in recent weeks, part of a wider wave of protests across the Middle East and North Africa against long-serving governments. Dozens of civilians have already been killed and senior UN officials, including Mr. Ban, have issued calls condemning the excessive use by security forces.
In the statement today Mr. Ban stressed that he “believes that there is no alternative to an inclusive dialogue on political, social and economic reform to address Yemen’s political crisis and maintain its national unity.”
Three independent UN human rights experts have also condemned the Government crackdown in Yemen, urging authorities to stop the excessive use of force to end protests.
In a joint statement, Christof Heyns, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, described the attacks against peaceful demonstrators as “a clear violation of international law.”
He urged every security official to desist from violence against the protesters. “They must be warned that obedience to such orders does not protect them from being held criminally accountable.”
Frank La Rue, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, noted that the role of any government is to serve its people.
“This means allowing them to express their grievances peacefully, listening to, and effectively addressing such concerns.”
Juan Méndez, the Special Rapporteur on torture, voiced his alarm at seeing images showing security personnel using excessive force against protesters.
“It is indeed a worrying trend when States use violence and excessive force to try to end long-standing grievances which, ironically, also include accusations of serious human rights violations such as police brutality and torture.”