Amidst the fierce armed clashes in Yemen, violations against civilians, mainly forced disappearance, escalates. For years, Abductees’ Mothers Association has documented 152 cases of forcibly disappeared civilians, 104 of which have been committed by Houthi armed group. Among these forcibly disappeared is a woman, Tahani Abdu Mohammed, 38, who was abducted while she was on her to visit relatives. She has been forcibly disappeared for almost two years, and no one has any clue of her conditions. The association has, also, documented 47 cases of forcibly disappeared civilians committed by the Security Belt forces, which is controlled by the Southern Transitional Council in Aden, and a case of force disappearance committed by the government’s security forces.
The victims of forced disappearance face life-threatening danger at prisons and secret detention centers, as 40 civilians have died due to torture while being forcibly disappeared. Additionally, Houthi armed group deliberately holds the forcibly disappeared at building and facilities targeted by air force, which has led to the death of 21 forcibly disappeared civilians. Moreover, 14 forcibly disappeared had been suffering chronic diseases before abduction, and yet their families have had no clue of their medical conditions for years.
Forced disappearance victims’ mothers struggle with inhuman conditions because of the repeated rumors of their sons’ conditions, which indicate their death. Yet, no assurance or denial has ever been officially issued in that regard. In addition, while looking for their sons, mothers are often subjected to financial extortion by the abducting parties. Several mothers have passed away while waiting for any information regarding their forcibly disappeared sons. Furthermore, many have developed chronic diseases due to the suffering and the fear they live. Sadly, many mothers have ended up seeing their sons only as dead bodies after the disappearance.
On the International Day of the Disappeared, August 30th, Abductees’ Mothers Association and Defense Foundation for Rights and Freedom reiterate the following demands;
1- For the local and international community to stand with the families of the forcibly disappeared, and to combine their efforts to uncover the victims’ fate.
2- For the government to sign the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and to clearly draft the necessary national laws that criminalize forced disappearance and heavily punish the perpetrators.
3- For the United Nations to activate its agencies and NGOs in order to provide the needed psychological support for the victims of forced disappearance and their families.
4- For the Security Council to implement deterring processes and punishments for the perpetrators of forced disappearance in Yemen.
Issued by Abductees’ Mothers Association and Defense Foundation for Rights and Freedom.
August 30th, 2021