The Human Rights Watch Organization said Tuesday that some officials in the government of Hadi tortured, raped and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the city of Aden, south of Yemen, which was supervised by the UAE forces.
“The authorities of Hadi government have denied the right of asylum seekers to seek protection as refugees, and deported migrants collectively in dangerous conditions across the sea,” the organization’s report mentioned.
According to Human Rights Watch, former detainees said, “The guards beat them with iron bars and staves, kick and bunch them up, threatened them with killing and deportation, sexually assaulted them and shot them, leaving at least two killed. The male guards forced women to take off their headscarves and robes. They also confiscated the money, personal effects and documents given to them by the UN Refugee Agency. ”
“The guards at the Migrant Detention Center in Aden attacked the men severely, raped women and boys, and deported hundreds of them across the sea in overcrowded boats,” said Bill Frelick, director of the Refugee Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “The crisis in Yemen does not represent any justification for this cruelty and brutality, and the Yemeni government must end these practices and hold those responsible accountable. ”
Human Rights Watch said it met with “eight migrants, seven of them were Oromo nationalists in Ethiopia, who had recently been detained at the center, as well as Yemeni government officials and members of immigrant communities.”
The organization mentioned that “the detention center for refugees in the district of Breqah in Aden was a marine science research center that turned into a detention center for migrants. Since the beginning of 2017, hundreds of Ethiopians, Somalis and Eritreans have been detained as immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees, but as of April 2018 there were only 90 migrants, most of them Eritrean. ”
Videos and photographs of the detention center from the past show hundreds of men and boys in a crowded concrete hall as well as women and girls sitting on the stone floor. Former detainees reported that the facility was very overcrowded, the health conditions were very deteriorated, with almost complete absence of medical care. The food was served irregularly, and the guards often prevented the inmates from the food,” according to Human Rights Watch.
Former detainees told the organization that, “the guards sexually assaulted women, girls and boys regularly. The boys were taken at night. A former detainee said: “Every night they take one to rape him. Not all boys, but the young ones, I know 7 boys who were sexually assaulted … I sometimes heard that happening. ” Several former detainees said the boys were coming back unable to sit down, sometimes crying, and telling others from time to time what had happened. An Ethiopian woman detained in prison said she was still in pain after being severely beaten by a guard because she refused to let him have sex with her. She said that women and girls were regularly raped and that she herself saw guards raping two of her friends.
“The Yemeni forces arrested and transferred the migrants to the center, but they admitted they had no control over the elite unit known as (the belt security forces), which has been gathering and transporting migrants and infiltrators to the center, the elite unit is supported by the UAE.” the report quoted from Hadi’s Interior Ministry.
A UN panel of experts has concluded that security forces and other elitist forces are acting on behalf of the UAE. The UAE plays a prominent role in directing the coalition operations in Aden and along the southern and western shores of Yemen. The UAE-backed forces in Aden have strong control of some neighborhoods, including the district of Breqh.
The UAE government has not responded to the Human Rights Watch letter raising questions about the UAE’s role with regard to the center. “