Okeil: Thousands of teachers in Houthi areas are threatened of being left behind on the sustainable development goals
Al-Banna: The Houthi professional Code of Conduct issued by the Houthi group will disrupt educational process in northern Yemen
Today, October 5, 2023, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights issued a new report entitled “Teachers in the Houthi-Controlled Areas: Victims Without Rights,” on the sidelines of the celebration of International Teachers’ Day, the day on which the joint recommendation of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization was published in cooperation with International Labor Organization. This recommendation concerns the rights and responsibilities of teachers and the standards for their training.
This report reminds the international community and international and regional organizations regarding the severe misbehavior committed against teachers in Yemen by the Houthi group. These transgressions encompass a range of offenses, such as extrajudicial killings, ceasing to provide payment for teacher salaries, unjustified detainment and arrest of teachers, and delivering politically motivated verdicts of death against numerous educators in regions under the Houthi's influence. In addition to the restrictions placed by the group on the right to peaceful assembly and their right to strike to demand the implementation of their basic demands, which is to obtain delayed salaries. The report documented the Houthi group’s intransigence against teachers in the areas under the group’s control, which puts thousands of teachers at risk of falling behind the 2023 agenda, which undermines the fourth goal of the sustainable development goals related to quality education.
The report highlighted that approximately 1,600 teachers and educators lost their lives in regions controlled by the Houthi group between October 2014 and the conclusion of 2022. Among them were 14 teachers who suffered from acts resembling torture, which is categorized as a crime against humanity according to the Rome Statute. Additionally, these acts of torture contradict the second paragraph of Article Four of the Second Additional Protocol attached to the four Geneva Conventions, which forbids any form of physical or mental harm inflicted upon individuals, particularly cruel treatment or torture. The report also referred to the restrictions imposed by the Houthi group on the right to peaceful assembly and the right to strike, which is the right that teachers in Houthi areas tried to exercise after years of interruption in paying their salaries, which made them abandon their teaching jobs, and some of them decided to migrate to other governorates in an attempt to create suitable living conditions for themselves and their families.
In this context; Ayman Okeil, international human rights expert and Chairperson of Maat, said that the Houthis, with their arbitrary practices against teachers in Yemen, are pushing thousands of them to fall behind the 2023 agenda, and are also making achieving SDG4 unattainable step. Okeil has urged international human rights mechanisms and the global community to exert pressure on the Houthi group, calling for an end to their intimidation campaigns against teachers residing in its areas.
Muhammad Al-Banna, a researcher at Maat, said that the Houthi group’s issuance of a professional code of conduct, which imposes their own beliefs on public employees, including teachers and educators, will disrupt the course of the educational process and lead to further conflicts between the group and teachers in Yemen. Al-Banna demanded international sanctions on Yahya Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi, Minister of Education in the Sana'a government which is not internationally recognized.