Amnesty International calls for Southern Transitional Council to withdraw from Yemen Women’s Center News
Amnesty International calls for Southern Transitional Council to withdraw from Yemen Women’s Center

Amnesty International (Amnesty) called on Thursday for the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) de facto authorities to withdraw their forces from the Yemeni Women’s Union Center, which is the only women’s shelter in Aden. The STC took over the center in an attack on May 26.

According to the human rights group, armed men, accompanied by women associated with the STC-backed Southern Women Union, forcibly entered the Yemeni Women’s Union center building in Aden. They seized control of the building following an attempt on May 13.

Yemeni Women’s Union works to empower women and support them in times of need. Amnesty reported that children and women in the shelter were terror-struck as the intruders stormed into the building. Additionally, the STC armed men have denied women from seeking protection services. Moreover, there has been no progress despite the order issued by the Public Funds prosecutor instructing law enforcement authorities to seek control of the situation.

The STC de facto authorities have unlawfully and arbitrarily restricted the work of civil society organizations in Aden, Amnesty said. The STC insists that the organizations procure permits from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and the STC-run National Authority for Southern Media to carry out their activities. This has created a restricted environment that does not allow civil society to work freely.

As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Yemen is obligated to uphold the right to freedom of expression and association. Article 21 of the ICCPR explicitly recognizes the right to peaceful assembly, essential for pursuing collective objectives, and STC’s conduct could violate this fundamental right.

The STC was established in 2017 under the leadership of Aydarus al-Zubaydi in response to South Yemen’s independence movement. Although South Yemen has no electoral system, the STC has gained substantial control of the country. Yemen’s protracted conflict continues to perpetrate unlawful assaults.