Secretary General Ban Voices Concern Over Excessive Use of Force Against Demonstrators in Yemen

NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–12 March 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed great concern over the deteriorating situation in Yemen and condemned the excessive use of force by security forces against peaceful demonstrators in the country’s capital Sana’a, which left several people dead and many others injured.

Mr. Ban called for utmost restraint and urged the Government and opposition groups to reach an understanding on initiating genuine and broad-based dialogue to avert a further deterioration of the security situation.

“The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Yemen to uphold international human rights standards and to investigate allegations of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations,” said a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Media reports said that Yemeni police attacked demonstrators in the centre of Sana’a, killing some six people and injuring many others. Hundreds of police reportedly used tear gas, water cannon and fired live bullets at protesters gathered in a square in the city.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had yesterday expressed concern following allegations that Yemeni Government security forces have in recent weeks used excessive force against demonstrators and opposition figures.

At least 37 protesters and six security officers were reported to have been killed in similar demonstrations before today’s violence.

Security forces are alleged to have killed two demonstrators at the University of Sana’a on 9 March, a day after dozens of students were injured following a similar protest. Other incidents include the reported killing of inmates at a prison in Sana’a and the slaying of two protesters on 4 March near the town of Harf Sufyan.