On January 20, 2022, Houthi forces, called on by the Sana’a University administration to quell an on-campus student demonstration, beat student protesters and arrested an unknown number of them.
Medical students gathered inside a building on campus to demand the postponement of final exams. According to reports, the university’s dean invited Houthi forces into the university to assist in quelling the protests. Video posted to Twitter shows Houthi forces pushing students to move down a hallway, and students can be heard yelling and crying. Students reported that they were threatened with weapons and that a number of them were arrested.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by armed forces raiding a university and violently assaulting students for the nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly—conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Yemen is a party. Security forces, including de facto state security forces, have an obligation to refrain from using force to restrict or retaliate against nonviolent student expression. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such attacks undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).