Geneva – A girl was killed in Yemen against the background of the so-called ‘honor killing’, which is seen as proof of the grave violations of women's rights in Yemen, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said.
Isbah Yahya Mahdi, 16, was killed on February 13 by three of her brothers and at the direct instigation of her father, in the central Sa`fan district of Yemen.
Investigation records revealed that the victim was subject to constant torture and beatings by her three brothers. One of them confessed that he killed her after he confronted her with conversations and pictures she had on her phone, which he also shared with his two brothers and their father, who was aware of all the details of the crime.
According to the investigation records, the murderer tortured his sister for several days using sharp tools and forced her to drink toxic substance before suffocating and killing her on the pretext of having an affair with a man in the village. However, forensic report denied their claims, adding that her body was subjected to separate fractures as a result of torture, and there was a toxic substance inside her stomach.
Repeated crimes against women in Yemen, especially the so-called ‘honor killing’ is the result of the lack of prosecution, and the absence of deterrent penalties, which constitute a motive for perpetrators who enjoy impunity.
In the meantime, Yemen remains \ the worst country on earth when it comes to the gap between both gender according to a report published in 2020. The tribal nature of the Yemeni society which is governed by laws and provisions sat out by the clan degrade and marginalize women.
Women in Yemen are subjected to various types of violence and persecution, denied the right to education and work, compelled to marry early, deprived of inheritance, and exposed to family abuse (including beating and insults by their fathers, husbands or brothers) at a time no real official steps are taken to deter such ongoing practices and violations.
“Dozens of murders within the context of ‘honor killings’ took place in Yemen and ended with the imprisonment of murderers and the reduction of their sentences, while in some cases, the killers were released after paying ‘blood money’,” said Mohammed Imad, legal researcher at the Euro-Med.
Imad added that Yemeni law is inadequate when it comes to dealing with ‘honor killings, adding that it does not contain deterrent and heavy penalties to punish the perpetrators. On the contrary, Yemeni law currently facilities impunity, especially Article (59) of the Yemeni Crime and Penal Code No. 12 of 1994, which stipulates that "A parent may not be reattributed for his branch, but shall be sentenced to Blood Money or Liable Injuries Compensation according to the case." Article 43 of the same law stipulates: “…The Blood Money for the women is half that for men…”
As a first step to encounter such crimes against women in Yemen, the Parliament must legislate new laws guaranteeing special protection of women approved by international law in several agreements such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Torture, and other agreements that criminalize any conduct that detracts from or abuses women's rights.
The authorities continuing denial of women’s rights is clear. In order for women to obtain basic rights and integrate them into the society without tribal constraints, the authorities must assume their constitutional and moral responsibilities, and reform the legislative system.
The United Nations General Assembly must intensify its awareness raising programs through its working committees in Yemen to change the old stereotypes about women through education about women's rights and their perception in international law and the importance of their integration into the society. The authorities must give women the full opportunity to express themselves and realize their aspirations without being restricted, assaulted, or degraded.