Advocacy Initiatives

It has been unlawful to sentence children to death in Yemen since 1994, and it is unlawful to sentence people under the age of 18 to life imprisonment. But these horrific sentences still continue to be handed to children. There are serious issues with birth registration in Yemen – only 22% of births are officially registered. Young people under 18 may be lawfully sentenced to corporal punishment including flogging and amputation.

There are a number of national advocacy initiatives in Yemen against inhuman sentencing of children. Some of which, supported by CRIN, are listed below.

  • SEYAJ is a children’s rights organisation based in Yemen that advocates for a fair juvenile justice system. In January 2011, with other civil society organisations, SEYAJ sent a letter to the Yemeni President to stop the execution of Mohammad Tahir Smoom and ten other minors. The appeal was successful.

  • UNICEF Yemen, in co-corporation with the Ministry of Justice and the European Union, launched a three-year project in March 2010 to improve and strengthen juvenile justice systems in Yemen.

Further resources and campaign tools

  • The European Union issued a resolution in 2011 on children sentenced to death in Yemen. It called for a halt on executions, the introduction of a comprehensive birth registration system and the development of facilities to allow for adequate age determination where birth certificates cannot be obtained.

  • A Human Rights Watch report documents executions of children in five countries between 2005 and 2008: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen. The report highlights cases of individual children executed or on death row in these countries, where well over 100 children are currently awaiting execution or the outcome of the judicial appeal or pardons (sometimes in exchange for money).