Michigan - The American Center for Justice (ACJ) said that it was time for the Yemeni government and the Houthi group to complete the prisoner swap deal and put an end to the obstacles facing its completion. It also stressed that this deal must include all detainees held by both parties, including those forcibly disappeared inside secret prisons.
According to ACJ's follow-up, the negotiations to exchange prisoners and detainees between the delegations of the Yemeni government and the Houthi group continue to hinder after they were scheduled to be launched last Sunday, November 26, in the Jordanian capital, Amman, under the auspices of the UN Envoy for Yemen. No other date has been set for the dialogue sessions that were scheduled to be held, but the office of the UN envoy stated that the new date for holding discussions between the delegations of the government and the Houthi group woukd be announced at the appropriate time.
It is noteworthy here that the Yemeni government and the Houthi group concluded in March 2022, under international auspices, an agreement stipulating the swap of 2,223 detainees, including 1,400 Houthi fighters, in exchange for 823 military prisoners and kidnapped civilians, yet this agreement failed to be fully completed, and last April 887 detainees were released as a first batch, with the remainder to be completed in a second round, which has not been possible until this moment.
The American Center for Justice confirms that the conditions of detainees, especially those held by the Houthi group deteriorate continously, especially those forcibly detained, as they suffer from deliberate deprivation of visits and access to basic necessities. Additionally, the Center recorded the death of dozens of detainees in the Houthis' prisons due to torture, ill-treatment, and deliberate medical negligence, in clear violation of the rights stipulated in the rules and conventions of international laws.
The ACJ also emphasizes that the file of detainees and abductees is a purely humanitarian and human rights issue related to an inherent right, which is human freedom, and therefore it cannot be accepted to link this file to any political or military issues or requirements, at the expense of that basic right. In this context, the Center draws attention to the complex suffering experienced by the families of detainees, particularly the mothers and children of detainees and abductees, especially in light of their deprivation of visits and the detainees not being allowed to communicate with them, even by phone, in addition to the lack of knowledge of their places of detention and their conditions in many cases.
The American Center for Justice (ACJ) calls upon the UN envoy to Yemen to remove all obstacles to holding negotiations between the government delegations and the Houthi group. The ACJ stressed that these negotiations must lead to the release of all detainees by both parties without conditions or complications, including those forcibly disappeared and those detained in secret prisons, taking into account the importance of emphasizing the responsibility of the Yemeni government and the Houthi group to end the suffering of thousands of detainees and their families.