The Office of the Special Envoy for Yemen Meets with Representatives of Yemeni Civil Society working on issues related to prisoners and detainees
10 December 2020 – Representatives of Yemeni Civil Society working on issues related to prisoners and detainees, met virtually today with the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen (OSESGY) and shared their views and recommendations on ways to move the file of detainees forward.
OSESGY’s Deputy Head of Mission, Muin Shreim opened the meeting by paying tribute to the vital role civil society, including women’s groups, has been playing in releasing detainees in Yemen in an often-dangerous environment.
Noting that this is the second anniversary of the agreement for the exchange prisoners, detainees, missing persons, arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared persons, and those under house arrest, Mr. Shreim stressed that the recent positive developments on the implementation of the detainees file with the release of over a thousand (1056) detainees brought renewed hope to thousands of Yemenis who have been agonizing to welcome back their family members, friends and loved ones.
The meeting discussed priorities, efforts and ways to keep the momentum and evaluated the current status and situation of detainees in different areas in Yemen.
All participants expressed grave concern on the status of thousands of detainees held in relation to the war in Yemen, and highlighted the need for the parties to honor their obligations under International Human Rights Law and treat all detainees in a humane manner and respect their inherent dignity, including by providing them with regular and unhindered access and communication with their families, lawyers and proper medical care. They also decried the continuous arbitrary detention of Yemeni civilians and the exploitation of the legal system to include more civilian detainees in the exchange framework.
Participants stressed that the parties should prioritize the release of vulnerable categories such as children, elderly, women, injured and sick detainees. The Office of the Special Envoy stressed once more that the parties should release unconditionally and immediately all arbitrarily detained civilians, including journalists and political prisoners.
Concluding the meeting, Mr. Shreim provided an update on OSESGY’s efforts to convene soonest possible the next rounds of talks with the parties to discuss further releases in line with their commitments made in Stockholm.