“Sifting the Grain” presenting testimony of discrimination and inequality in Yemen

Today, the Equal Rights Trust launches its new report Sifting the Grain: 6,000 Testimonies of Discrimination and Inequality from Yemen, which presents an analysis of extensive field research on discrimina­tion, inequality and other human rights abuses conducted in Yemen by eleven field research teams between 2015 and 2017 and analysed by Yemeni researchers in 2018.

The publication of this report marks the culmination of a four year project in Yemen, which the Trust has been implementing in partnership with an incredibly courageous Yemeni human rights organisation which cannot be named for security reasons. As part of this project, despite an incredibly volatile security situation, research teams of Yemeni human rights defenders managed to undertake primary field research, documenting over 6,000 cases of discrimination and other human rights abuses across 21 governorates.

The report presents considerable evidence of discrimination and inequality in Yemen across various areas of life and on a range of grounds. The first-hand testimony ranges from accounts of the discrimination faced by members of Yemen’s Jewish minority and the inequality and discrimination experienced by women in accessing education and employment, to the particular impact of the conflict on already marginalised groups, including persons with disabilities and members of the Muhamasheen community, who have reported being denied humanitarian assistance on account of the fact that they are Muha­masheen. The report also identifies evidence of the discrimination and inequality experienced by individuals displaced by the ongoing conflict.

One of the Yemeni researchers who analysed the field research, Mr Samed Mohammed Al-Samei, commented as follows:

Yemen is suffering from a legacy of discrimination against many segments of the population, which impedes the development of the country. This report presents examples of the nature of the discriminatory practices in Yemen, demonstrating the magnitude of the challenges that a large number of Yemeni citizens face. It is shameful that discrimination is still so prevalent in Yemen in the twenty-first century. As a human rights defender, my wish is that we can eliminate discrimination so that everyone is equal. It is a fundamental issue; it is about principles and our nature as human beings.

Crucially, the report is a testament to the remarkable dedication and courage of Yemen’s human rights defenders, who managed to over­come the challenges of operating in the midst of an escalating armed conflict in order to conduct the underlying research for this report, and to prepare the report itself.

Whilst the international community’s attention is focused on the UN-administered ceasefire brokered last month and on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country, it must not lose sight of the continuing human rights violations, and must recognise the crucial role of Yemen’s human rights defenders in monitoring and documenting these violations on the ground. These human rights defenders continue to face considerable risks – including being vulnerable to arbitrary arrest, detention and violence – as a result of their work. They need our support more than ever and we must not forget them,” said Joanna Whiteman, Co-Director of the Equal Rights Trust.

Sifting the Grain” is part of the Trust’s broader work protecting and empowering human rights defenders in Yemen. The report complements the Trust’s comprehensive country report on equality and non-discrimination in Yemen, From Night to Darker Night: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Yemen (June 2018).

To download a copy of “Sifting the Grain” in either English or Arabic, click here.

For a hard copy of the report, please contact info@equalrightstrust.org.

For more information, including the opportunity to interview Joanna Whiteman or one of the human rights defenders who worked on the report, please contact Camilla Alonzo, Senior Legal and Programmes Officer, Equal Rights Trust: camilla.alonzo@equalrightstrust.org.


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