Saturday, May 28, 2011

Brief Note about Yemen from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The dangerous escalation of violence in Yemen over the past few days is very alarming, especially given that the Government and opposition were so close to an agreement. We have received reports of dozens of civilian casualties, including women and children, in the fighting over the past few days and are working to confirm this information as best we can.

There are also reports of shelling by Government troops in residential areas. We are deeply concerned that such violence may be pushing the country to the brink of a civil war. We call on the Government to stop the excessive and disproportionate use of force, to stop targeting activists, human rights defenders and journalists, and to seriously investigate all allegations of crimes committed by security forces.

As we mentioned before, the Government has extended an invitation to OHCHR to conduct a mission at the end of June but we are seeking access earlier than that. We are in discussions with the Government on the terms of reference of the mission.