Thursday, January 08, 2009

Yemen failing to protect Jews - human rights group

A Yemen human rights organisation is speaking out in defence of the rights of Jews under assault in the country, the Yemen Times reports. The authorities were responding too little, too late, to the Jews' plight.

One Jew has also criticised them for renting alternative accommodation in insecure, crowded blocks near Sana'a.

SANA’A, Jan. 6 — The Yemen Human Rights Observatory (YHRO) criticizes attacks and offenses launched by irresponsible men and teenagers against Jews in the Raida district of Amran governorate.

In a statement distributed Tuesday, YHRO said that tens of students at Al-Zahra School in Raida assaulted members of the Jewish minority during a random demonstration in protest against the ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza.

The human rights organization added that it reported many violations that were committed by students of the above mentioned school and citizens against Jews in Raida. They verbally assaulted Jews, threw stones at their houses, and intimidated their women and children.

According to the statement, Jew Zaher Gafri sustained critical injuries, his face swelled up, and his appearance was stained with blood. Other Jewish citizens were subject to various injuries while on the street. The protestors hurled stones at houses of Jews Haim Yaeesh, Shakr Sulaiman, Salem Shaghdari, and Yahya Jaradi, and the houses’ occupants were intimidated.

YHRO said it observed the violations experienced by members of the Jewish minority, adding that the security authority’s intervention came late. The security personnel arrested some of the assailants and detained them but did not announce the results of their investigation.

The observatory went on to say that the Jewish citizens were subjected to several forms of harassment over the past time period while local and official authorities did not take any actions to protect Jews and refer perpetrators to court.

The human rights organization held the security authorities responsible for what happened to the Jewish citizens in Raida, accusing them of being indifferent toward Jewish minorities. It continued that the authorities only asked Jews to move to Sana’a, which is another violation against their right to settle wherever they want. (...)

Regarding their transition to Sana’a, a Jewish citizen, who requested to remain unnamed, said, “We told government officials to transfer us to the tourist city, east of Sana’a, where other Jews coming from Sa’ada live. This area is safer and more secure and suitable for children to play. The government officials, however, refused to do so, and instead rented blocks for us in crowded zones.”

Members of the Jewish minority submitted a document to Sheikh Kahlan Mujahid Abu Shawarib, which was written by his late father Mujahid Abu Shawarib on August 25, 1993, reading: “This document must remain at the possession of Jews residing in Raida, Al-Suq Al-Jadid, Naet, Mahmam, and Athar in Amran. Those Jews are in our protection and their houses, money, and other property must be protected like those of Muslims according to the Islamic Sharia. Any attack against Jews is an attack against us. It is our duty to confront assailants and punish them. This document remains at their hand to show it to those concerned when required.”

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