International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Yemen: First peace, now justice?

Yemen: First peace, now justice?

In continuing our theme of how peace and justice their roles in working towards reconciliation after human rights violations, the current Abyan conflict in Yemen is one that can better put this complex theme into perspective. Amnesty International released a report yesterday detailing the human rights violations that have been recorded through interviews with “residents, activists, journalists, witnesses, victims and relatives of victims from Abyan governorate, mainly in Aden and Ja’ar, and visited areas affected by the conflict, including Ja’ar, Zinjibar and al-Kawd”. As Ansar al-Shar’ia fought for control of the Abyan region and enforced strict restrictions in work, school and social life in general upon the Yemeni people. Simultaneously, the Yemeni government’s militia was not able to regain control through several attacks on Ansar al-Shar’ia, which lead to further violence until the extremist group group was finally driven out of Abyan in June 2012 attack.


Having displaced 250,000 people through their time of reign in the Abyan region, Ansar al-Shar’ia has now been removed from Yemen, but does this mean that the Yemeni people are at peace? Not only was this a series of violent attacks by an extremist Islamist group, but also a period of confinement as Ansar al-Shar’ia through strict laws that determined how the people of the region led their lives. The way to achieve immediate peace was for the Yemeni government to take back their power, but what does Yemen intend to do in seeking justice for the human rights violations? We cannot forget those who are still affected by the human rights violations and their subjection to a the laws of an Islamist extremist group, which at the time, superseded Yemeni laws.  


We must also keep in mind that though these human rights violations are mostly a domestic issue, they should be of the utmost concern to the international community. Not only have these perpetrators been displaced without consequence, they have not been disbanded. The threat of a group strong enough to take over part of a nation is indeed terrifying for all countries in the Arab Peninsula. The report of Amnesty International will be the first step in providing insight to these human rights atrocities, the first of many to establish justice to the Yemeni people. 


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