The North and South of Yemen unified in 1990. South Yemen is mainly Sunni (53% of the population), while most of the northern population is Shia, follower of the Zaydi doctrine (45% of the population).
Since the Sa’ada war in the north broke out in 2004, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands displaced as a result of fighting between Zaydi rebels from the al-Huthi’s group and government forces allied to rival Zaydi clans.
A second internal conflit started in 2007 with the mass protests against discrimination in the south of the country.
In this context, government has been targetting journalists, human rights defenders, and other civil society groups as “terrorists” and uses the war against terrorism as a tool to crackdown any form of opposition.
Following the FIDH which Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights is a member (saf-yemen.org), over the past few years, the government of Yemen has been showing significant setbacks in human rights and civil liberties, in the name of security.
Ms Amal Basha is chairwoman of Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF). She has served as a coordinator for the International Coalition on the International Criminal Court, as an advisor to the Yemen Ministry of Human Rights and has been actively involved with various UN programmes.
Ms Amal Basha has been the vistim of harassment especially after the publication by SAF at the end of 2009 of a report on torture in Yemen, as well as a publication on the human rights situation to the UN Human Rights Council.