Last updated: 17 January 2024


The Law on Associations and Foundations (Law No. 1 of 2001) and the Executive Statutes No. 129 for the year 2004 are the basic law that govern civil society organizations (CSOs). The Ministerial Resolution No. 211 for the year 2011 regulates the affairs between the government, the CSO community, and international agencies in Yemen.

The Associations and Foundations Law is the most enabling law governing CSOs in the Arabian Peninsula. Compared with CSOs in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and other Arab Gulf countries, it is generally easy to establish and operate CSOs in Yemen with minimal government interference. However, Yemeni civil society has criticized restrictive implementation practices for many years, and the government has regularly proposed new restrictions on CSOs. While no new restrictive laws have been approved by Parliament, the government has issued regulations restricting organizations’ access to funding and ability to carry out activities.

According to the CSO Sustainability Index, “there are no up-to-date official statistics on the number of CSOs in Yemen. However, in late 2018, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MOSAL) estimated that there were 13,200 registered CSOs across the country, including both active and inactive CSOs.” Most of these organizations work in the philanthropic field, while others work in social development, democracy, and human rights.

After the 2011 Revolution, Yemen launched a national dialogue process to discuss various political and social issues facing the country and agree on a binding document to form the basis of a new constitution for the nation. Following the completion of the National Dialogue Conference in January 2014, interim President Hadi announced the formation of a committee to draft a new constitution. The drafting committee, comprising 17 members, completed its first draft in January 2015. The initial drafting process included substantial opportunities for CSOs to contribute their feedback, and resulting draft articles provide a strong basis for the protection of freedom of association, among other rights. However, due to the aggravated political crisis in Yemen, the legal procedures for adopting the new draft constitution were not finalized.

During 2021, more legal restraints were imposed on CSOs, and they face new interference from the authorities. Many CSOs’ movement was restricted both as a result of the difficulty in obtaining licenses and because they are considered illegitimate in some areas of the country if their licenses were obtained in other areas.

Organizational Forms Associations and Foundations
Registration Body Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
Approximate Number 14,000
Barriers to Entry Associations are required to have at least 21 founding members, and foundations are required to deposit a comparatively large initial balance with a bank.
Barriers to Activities The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has extensive rights to monitor CSO activities; CSOs must obtain the Ministry’s approval before undertaking activity requested by a foreign entity.
Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy No legal barriers to speech or advocacy, but in practice, vocal human rights organizations may face difficulties in dealing with government.
Barriers to International Contact No legal barriers.
Barriers to Resources No legal barriers, however CSOs must notify the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs when seeking to obtain foreign funds. The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation supervises and coordinates between local CSOs and foreign grants.
Barriers to Assembly The state has excessive leeway to ban or interfere with public assemblies and has used excessive force to break up assemblies.
Population 31,565,602 (2023 est.)
Capital Sana’a
Type of Government In transition
Life Expectancy at Birth Male: 65.49 years
Female: 70.28 years (2023 est.)
Literacy Rate Male: 85.1%
Female: 55% (2015)
Religious Groups Muslim 99.1% (official; virtually all are citizens, an estimated 65% are Sunni and 35% are Shia), other 0.9% (includes Jewish, Baha’i, Hindu, and Christian; many are refugees or temporary foreign residents) (2020 est.)
Ethnic Groups Predominantly Arab; but also Afro-Arab, South Asians, Europeans
GDP Per Capita (PPP) $2,500 (2017 est.)

Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2023.

Ranking Body Rank Ranking Scale
(best – worst possible)
UN Human Development Index 179 (2022) 1 – 188
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 176 (2022) 1 180
Freedom House: Freedom in the World Status: Not Free
Political Rights: 1
Civil Liberties: 8 (2023)
Free/Partly Free/Not Free
40 – 1
60 – 1
Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index Rank: 2 (2023) 179 – 1

International and Regional Human Rights Agreements

Key International Agreements Ratification* Year
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Yes 1987
Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1) No
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Yes 1987
Optional Protocol to ICESCR (OP-ICESCR) No
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) Yes 1972
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Yes 1984
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women No
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Yes 1991
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW) No
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Yes 2009
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Yes 2013
The Paris Commitments to Protect Children from Unlawful Recruitment or Use by Armed Forces or Armed Groups Yes 2013
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Yes 2013
Key Regional Agreements Ratification* Year
Arab Charter on Human Rights Yes 2008

* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty

Constitutional Framework

The current Constitution of Yemen was ratified by popular referendum on May 16, 1991, with amendments made in 2001. Relevant constitutional provisions include:

  • Article (48)(a): “The state shall guarantee to its citizens their personal freedom, and preserve their dignity and their security. The law shall define the cases in which citizens’ freedom may be restricted. Personal freedom cannot be restricted without the decision of a competent court of law.”
  • Article (51): “Citizens have the right of recourse to the courts to protect their rights and lawful interests. They also have the right to submit their complaints, criticisms, and suggestions to the various government bodies directly or indirectly.”
  • Article (53): “The state shall guarantee the freedom and confidentiality of mail, telephone, telegram and all other means of communication, none of which may be censored, searched, exposed, delayed or confiscated except in cases specified by law and according to a court order.”
  • Article (58): “In as much as it is not contrary to the Constitution, the citizens may organize themselves along political, professional and union lines. They have the right to form associations in scientific, cultural, social and national unions in a way that serves the goals of the Constitution. The state shall guarantee these rights, and shall take the necessary measures to enable citizens to exercise them. The state shall guarantee freedom for the political, trade, cultural, scientific and social organizations.”

National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector

Relevant national legislation governing civil society includes the following:

Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives

Yemen’s Ministry of Legal Affairs developed a new draft CSO law in late 2014. The draft law was expected to be submitted to the government and then to Parliament in 2015 but ongoing political, security, and humanitarian crises following the takeover of government institutions by the Houthi rebels in February 2015 and subsequent military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition has stalled all legal developments.
In addition, the 17-member committee formed to draft Yemen’s new Constitution completed its first draft in January 2015. In light of the political turmoil in the country, it is likely that the draft it will be significantly amended before being submitted for a public referendum. As issued in January 2015, however, the draft Constitution contains several enabling articles that pertain to freedom of association. An unofficial translation of these articles follows, below:

Article 111: Citizens have the right to create associations, foundations, and civil society organizations upon notification. In their creation, management, and operation, these organizations must adhere to the principles of democracy, good governance, and transparency of accounts, revenues, and sources of funding. The State guarantees their independence and freedom to carry out their activities, and may not halt their activities or dissolve them or their administrative bodies except upon a court order.

Article 134: Rights and freedoms contained in this Constitution shall not be disrupted, deviated from, or compromised in any way. In cases where the law provides for the development of regulations to control these rights and freedoms, such regulations shall not affect the origin of the right, or its essence or content. The regulations shall not be developed except as necessary and in order to protect the rights of others, public order, or public morals, and they shall be within the minimum necessary for these purposes, as required by the foundations of the civil democratic states, provided that they are not limited to a specific case.

Article 10: The State is committed to respecting the United Nations Charter, the League of Arab States Charter, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to international charters and treaties ratified by the legislature, and generally recognized principles of international law.

The draft was developed with substantial opportunities for CSOs to submit their suggestions and feedback during the committee’s drafting process. If the draft is adopted, it will provide a stronger constitutional basis for the protection of freedom of association and a supportive legal environment for civil society in Yemen.

Please help keep us informed; if you are aware of pending initiatives, write to ICNL at

Organizational Forms

There are two organizational forms for civil society in Yemen: associations and foundations.

The Law on Associations and Foundations (Law No. 1 of 2001) provides for the formation of associations, including national associations and organizations. Article 2 of the Law defines associations are defined as “any popular group established in accordance with this law by natural persons the least number of which is 21 persons at the time of application for the establishment thereof and 41 persons at the constituent meeting, the primary purpose of which is the realization of a common benefit for a specific social group, or to undertake activities or functions that are of a public benefit, and which does not seek from its activities to generate a financial profit for its members, and the membership of which shall be open in accordance with the conditions spelled out in the organizational procedures.”

There are no separate governance provisions for foundations.

According to Law No. 1 of 2001, associations and foundations must be registered at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Sana’a and/or its local representative offices in the governorates.

Public Benefit Status

Law 1 of 2001 provides that associations may be established for either a mutual (group) benefit or public benefit purpose, while foundations must have a public benefit purpose. Under Law 1 of 2001, all associations and foundations receive certain tax exemptions, including exemption from customs fees on imports necessary for their work and on gifts and grants from overseas (subject to approval by the Minister of Finance). With regard to public benefit status, Article 18 of Law 1 requires that the government provide financial and material support to associations that serve a public benefit. The law does not, however, define “public benefit” or provide for a process for CSOs that serve a public benefit to formally obtain a public benefit, tax-exempt status.

Public Participation

Yemeni laws in general support civic participation in public life. Access to information is guaranteed by the constitution. However, awareness of the right to public participation is very low. A small percentage of citizens—primarily activists, politicians, and members of the media—are aware of available mechanisms. The majority of people are unaware, due to the low literacy rate. In addition, the government not publicized or otherwise taken steps to make local citizens aware of available mechanisms or how to access them.

In practice, police and judicial authorities target activists for interfering in issues under their purview. However, Yemeni law, including the Criminal Procedure Code, permits citizens to submit communications to the police authorities or the public prosecution if there are violations of Yemeni laws.

In addition, journalist face particular limitations under the Press and Publications Code No. 25 of 1990, which contains numerous articles restricting their work and exposing them to legal liability.

Finally, while many government bodies encourage associations to engage in formulating laws and policies, the government typically expects these associations to agree to the government proposals. Therefore, in practice, the space for dialogue between the two sectors, or for meaningful participation by associations in public policy-making, is limited.

Barriers to Entry

Any association established pursuant to Law 1 of 2001 must be founded by at least 21 people at the time of application and 41 people at the time of the first meeting. According to the implementing regulations, associations must also deposit one million Yemeni rials (approximately US $4,000) with a bank before they can register.

Registration forms were updated in 2021. CSOs obtained their licenses in a difficult and complicated manner. They were required to provide precise details, such as staff data and their bank accounts. Some of these requirements are provided for in the law, but others are extra-legal. In addition, the registration forms and procedures differ between Sana’a and Aden, and CSOs registered in one area are not recognized in the other. Effectively requiring CSOs to open headquarters in both governorates has imposed significant additional costs and efforts on CSOs.

Barriers to Operational Activity

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has extensive authority to monitor and constrain the activities of associations, according to the following elements of the law:

  • Law 1 of 2001 requires that a Ministry representative supervise the internal elections of associations;
  • Law 1 of 2001 fails to guarantee associations the right to develop their internal regulations in the way their members wish;
  • All associations must submit annual reports to the Ministry in order to renew their license. The Ministry has the right to audit an association’s funding, including its sources and disbursement;
  • Law 1 of 2001 provides the Ministry with the right to question associations about their activities and financial matters.

Law 1 of 2011 further constrains CSO activities by requiring associations and foundations to obtain the Ministry’s permission before conducting activities “on the request or assignment of a foreign entity.” (Article 23) The implementing regulations for Law 1 require CSOs to submit an application that includes the foreign entity’s name, address, nationality, purpose, geographic scope, and the nature and goals of the proposed activities. The Ministry must review and respond to the application within 30 days and inform the CSO of its decision (Article 18). The regulations do not further define the types of activities encompassed by this requirement, nor do they provide for a CSO to appeal a negative decision by the Ministry.

Since the breakout of war in late 2014, government authorities in Yemen have exerted additional controls on CSO activities—particularly those carried out in coordination with or funded by international organizations. A regulation issued in the last quarter of 2016 requires that CSOs consult with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC) prior to submitting any funding proposals to international agencies, and obtain MoPIC approval before entering into an agreement with an international non-governmental organization (INGO). New CSO projects with INGOs must fit within MoPIC program plans, and certain activities such as surveys must be approved by MoPIC in advance. In mid-2017, Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued additional instructions requiring that all organizations seeking to carry out any kind of activity to submit a detailed form with extensive information about the activity.

In early 2019, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Sana’a Government began a process of reviewing and evaluating CSOs’ work. The Ministry confirmed that it will assess whether CSOs should maintain their operating licenses based on the level of their activity on the ground. To make its determination, the Ministry will review CSOs’ work plans and evaluation reports. Civil society advocates view this initiative as a way for Houthis to decrease the number of CSOs that operate in Sana’a and the other governorates under their control. Previous government initiatives were seen as having a similar objective, including freezing the bank accounts of some CSOs, ceasing to issue licenses, and changing the boards of some CSOs to include government-affiliated individuals. In addition, in 2019, the Ministry dissolved around 100 CSOs for having “suspicious objectives.” The Ministry also announced that only 400 out of 13,000 registered CSOs are active and that it will be adopting a new mechanism to enable it to decide which CSOs work for the interest of the country.

In 2020, the CSOs faced difficulty in obtaining their licenses from Aden Governorate if their headquarters were based in Sana’a or their founders were from the northern areas. As a result, many CSOs were pushed to open headquarters in Aden Governorate or act through other organizations. In view of the increasingly complicated practices by the authorities toward CSOs—which include improper use of legal procedures, security pressure on organizations, and the arbitrary use of CSOs’ data—some CSOs have halted their community activities at some areas. For instance, the International Organization for Migration recently closed its office in Hodeida Governorate.

At the same time, the Supreme Council for Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Cooperation in Sana’a issued a number of resolutions that limited CSOs’ activities and often caused them to halt in their projects or shutdown of their offices. These resolutions are often applied in a restrictive manner. Resolution No. 2060 for the year 2020 requires CSOs’ projects and draft sub-agreements to be reviewed by the General Secretariat of Supreme Council for Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Cooperation. Resolution No. 56 for the year 2021 prohibits any organization from carrying out any activity or project via its website. Furthermore, before holding any virtual meetings, workshops, or symposiums, organizations must coordinate with the General Secretariat of the Council. Moreover, the resolution states that the organizations should not use their staff to implement their work or conduct studies unless the Supreme Council’s permission is obtained, to avoid any action that may result in the organization being shut down or expelled from the country. Resolution No. 805 for the year 2021 confines CSOs’ activities under licenses issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor to a certain geographical scope. Nationwide licenses are exclusively issued by the Ministry’s headquarters. Therefore, any organization operating in more than one governorate will be suspended. At the same time, the Ministry issued a circular in October 2021 suspending its offices across the governorates’ issuance of work licenses for CSOs. According to the circular, licenses can only be issued by the Ministry’s headquarters in Aden. As a result, CSOs must have locations and bank accounts in Aden to operate there.

In addition, in late 2021, the Aden office of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor issued a number of resolutions and circulars to impose additional legal and technical control over the activities of CSOs in Aden and regulate the legal status of national and cooperative associations. These procedures and resolutions include the procedures to renew of annual licenses pursuant to the National Associations and Federations Law for the year 1998, as well compliance with the license renewal procedure. Renewal requires providing an administrative report for the previous year; a financial report approved by a chartered accountant in Aden that covers the organization’s activities, including all bank accounts in official lists along with sources of funding; a lease for the organization’s headquarters in Aden; and the annual plan of the organization’s activities and projects for the upcoming year accompanied by their sources of funding.

The Ministry further confirmed that the national and cooperative associations must hold their electoral meeting in coordination with the Ministry’s Office in Aden following the expiry of the Board of Directors’ 3-year term as stipulated in law. In 2021, the Ministry also issued circular No. 2 regulating the membership of the cooperative associations, based on the Associations and Cooperative Federations Law No. 39 for the year 1998. According to Article 21-4 of the Law, a member of an association should not be a member in another association that conducts similar activities. In addition, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor’s office in Aden circular No. 1 for the year 2021 warning national associations and foundations operating in Aden not to implement any activities without their prior approval. The government pointed to Article 3 of the National Associations and Foundations Law, which allows the Ministry to monitor associations’ and foundations’ activities and work. The Ministry also confirmed that it would take legal action against violators according to the National Associations and Federations Law No. (29) for the year 2004 and its Executive Statutes.

Yemen’s Law on Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism also impacts CSOs’ ability to carry out activities freely. The 2010 Law contains an article that permits a committee in the Central Bank to:

  • Examine and inspect bank accounts without prior notice.
  • Halt the activities of any company or organization operating in Yemen for a period of 24 hours, with a possible extension up to a month without following any legal procedures.

In addition to legal restrictions on activities, CSOs are also subject to extralegal harassment by government authorities and security forces. Harassment that is premised on officials’ security concerns, misinformation, or corrupt practices have increasingly constrained and chilled CSOs’ operations since the war began.

Barriers to Speech / Advocacy

There are no legal barriers to speech or advocacy. However, human rights defenders are often accused of being aligned with opposition political parties or face difficulties in dealing with governmental departments. Since coming to power in 2014, Ansar Allah, which is also known as the Houthis, has targeted social media users and others who voice criticism of the group. The Southern Transitional Council, which controls Aden and other parts of southern Yemen and advocates secession for its territories, has also detained journalists and other critics.

Notable cases of pressure on journalists include the following:

  • In May 2023, freelance international journalists Quentin Müller and Sylvain Mercadier were in their apartment on the island of Socotra when the police arrived, arrested them without showing any warrant, searched their apartment, and seized their equipment and passports. After being taken to a police station for questioning, they were placed under house arrest for a week and then forced to leave the country. Müller had written several reports for the French daily Libération, the monthly Le Monde Diplomatique and the webzine Orient XXI about the political situation on the island. Mercadier was seemingly arrested arbitrarily because he was rooming with Müller.
  • In June 2023, government authorities in Ma’rib issued arrest warrants for the editors of three news outlets and the bureau chiefs of two broadcast networks for their reporting on corruption.
  • In August 2023, security forces in Taiz arrested Jameel al-Samat in response to his writings on social media that criticized the performance of the government security forces. He had been arrested only one month earlier due to a complaint from military leadership in Taiz.

It should also be noted that the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate has highlighted how female journalists face unique constraints, including limited opportunities and self-censorship as a result of, political, cultural and social pressures.

Barriers to International Contact

There are no legal barriers to international communication or contact. However, as noted above, regulations require that local CSOs consult with the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC) before submitting funding proposals to international organizations or agencies. Local CSOs must also have MoPIC approval before entering into agreements with international entities.

In Ansarullah-controlled areas, local CSOs’ project funding proposals are no longer sent to external entities through the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation; instead, they now go through the Supreme Council for Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Cooperation. The situation remains unchanged in the government-controlled areas.

The numerous authorities that are authorized to approve and facilitate external participation has created an impediment for CSOs to coordinate their participation and opportunities outside the country. For instance, in 2020 the Supreme Council for Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Cooperation issued circular No. 2099 rejecting the agreements girls’ scholarships provided by scientific institutions in the Netherlands, because it found the agreement’s signatory—President Hadi and his government—to be illegitimate. CSOs were instructed that the Ministry of Higher Education in Sana’a is the competent authority.

CSOs are also facing pressures from the Sana’a Authority regarding their websites that target donors and the international community, as well as for conducting virtual workshops with an external entity. An organization might be placed on the “List of Suspicious Organizations” serving a foreign agenda, have their personnel targeted, or have their ability to run activities hampered. In January 2021, the Sana’a Authority issued a circular banning external participation without first obtaining permission. It further banned CSOs from holding virtual meetings or using their websites unless prior approval is obtained from the Supreme Council for Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Cooperation.

Barriers to Resources

Law No. 1 of 2001 allows CSOs to receive funds from a foreign person or entity “with the knowledge of the Ministry” (Article 23(1)). Implementing regulations for the law specify that CSOs must provide the Ministry with detailed information about the source and purpose of foreign funds, but does not give further detail on the notification process. With regard to finances generally, associations and foundations may freely receive resources from government or non-government persons and entities, in a manner “that does not conflict with the effective applicable law.” (Article 39(2))

In April 2010, the House of Representatives passed the Law on Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism. Although some minor amendments were made to the law leading up to its adoption, it still contains provisions which may harm associations and organizations with projects that are funded by international parties. For instance, the Law provides for a committee in the Central Bank to examine and inspect bank accounts without prior notice, and to stop any company or organization operating in Yemen from activity for a period of 24 hours—with the possibility of extending up to one month—without following regular legal procedures.

The procedures for Sana’a-based CSOs to access external funding have changed. The Supreme Council for Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and International Cooperation has replaced the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation as the responsible entity for coordination and contact related to foreign funding of CSOs. In addition, the Sana’a Authority recently limited the areas of work permissible for CSOs and prohibited the projects concerned with peace, advocacy, and gender. As a result, CSOs operating in these sectors have reduced opportunities for external funding, leading to a shortage of resources.

Barriers to Assembly

Legal Restrictions. Public assemblies in Yemen are regulated by Law No. 29 of 2003 on the Organization of Marches and Assemblies. Article 3 of the Law stipulates that “every citizen in Yemen, every political party, every public organization, every trade union and syndicate has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly including peaceful demonstrations and marches in compliance with the constitution, the provisions of this law and the applicable laws.” This provision improperly restricts the right of freedom of assembly by excluding, for instance, non-citizens.

Vague Provisions. Vague provisions in Law No. 29 give the state excessive leeway to ban or interfere with public assemblies. For instance, Article 16 prohibits “a demonstration or march that targets the Republican system, homeland security, or the unity of [Yemen’s] territories.” The vagueness and breadth of these provisions allow the government to bar virtually any demonstration or march that it does not support. In addition, Article 5 stipulates that the authorities may reschedule the start and end of an assembly and change its route within 24 hours of the assembly, “for only security reasons and in the case of necessity.” The Ministry of Interior may interpret such provisions in an expansive way to unduly interfere with an assembly shortly before it takes place.

Advance Notification. Article 4 of Law No. 29 requires organizers to notify the Ministry of Interior 72 hours before all demonstrations and marches. This exceeds the 48-hour advanced notice period recommended by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association.

Article 5 of Law No. 29 allows organizers the right to appeal the authority’s decision if the authority decides to reschedule the assembly without justification. The appeal must be made to a court within 24 hours, and the court is to decide within a period not exceeding 72 hours. The decision of the court is considered final.

Law No. 29 does not specifically allow for spontaneous assemblies; due to this absence in combination with the notification requirement, spontaneous assemblies may be considered prohibited. However, Article 19 states that “The provisions of this law do not apply to protests and sit-ins that do not turn into a demonstration or a march.” This Article provides some space for spontaneous gatherings on a smaller scale.

Enforcement. In the past several years, authorities in Yemen have used excessive force to disperse peaceful protestors on a number of occasions. For instance, in 2021 the Yemeni security forces and the Transitional Council’s  forces used excessive force to repress the peaceful demonstrations in Aden and Hadhramout in protest against the deteriorating security situations, resulting in the death of two persons and wounding a number of demonstrators through firing live bullets and declaring a state of emergency without regard to the Constitutional right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

UN Universal Periodic Review Reports Universal Periodic Review: Yemen (2019)
Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs Yemen
USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes Not available
U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2021: Yemen
Fragile States Index Reports Foreign Policy: Fragile States Index
Fund for Peace Country Profile: Yemen
IMF Country Reports Yemen and the IMF
International Commission of Jurists Not available
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library Yemen

While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change.  If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at

General News

Violations and harassment facing female journalists in Yemen (March 2023)
According to Euro-Med Monitor, one out of every ten journalists arrested in Yemen over the last two years was a woman. The number of journalists arbitrarily detained in Yemen increased by 20% in 2021, reaching 488 journalists, including 60 female journalists, making it the largest number of female detainees in Yemen’s history. Despite a lower number of female journalists arrested as compared to male journalists, the number of registered female journalists in Yemen is much lower than that of male journalists. Female journalists account for approximately 170 of the 1,500 journalists registered and affiliated with the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate, making up only 11% of the total number of Syndicate-affiliated journalists. Furthermore, female journalists face several constraints, including limited opportunities and routine self-censorship as a result of cultural and social pressures.

Civil society organizations reject the Prime Minister’s decision No. 3 of 2023 and demand its immediate annulment (January 2023) (Arabic)
Civil society organizations formed a position that is the first of its kind to record their categorical rejection of the Prime Minister’s Resolution No. 3 of 2023, which they believe will eliminate any glimmer of hope for the stability of the situation in the country.

Limiting the accounts of civil society organizations in 4 banks subject to the Central Bank (January 2023) (Arabic)
The Director General of the Office of Social Affairs and Labor in Aden issued an order to stop opening any accounts for civil society organizations in banks that are not subject to the supervision of the Central Bank of Aden.

Minister Zaouri directs to remove the black and gray list of associations and organizations operating in the country (August 2022) (Arabic)
Hi Excellency Dr. Muhammad Saeed Al-Zaouri, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, stressed the need to re-evaluate the work and programs of civil society organizations and rectify their activities.

Social Affairs and Labor “takes a number of” decisions to activate legal oversight (November 2021) (Arabic)
The acting Director-General of the Office of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor in the capital issued a number of decisions and circulars to activate the legal and technical control over the work activities of civil society organizations.

A Letter from Civil Society Organizations to the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen (September 2021)
CSOs release a statement to the Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen regarding enhancement of humanitarian action in Yemen.

Yemen: Government and Transitional Council unite in suppressing protesters (September 2021)
Yemeni security forces and the Southern Transitional Council forces have killed two and injured a number of demonstrators during popular demonstrations in cities in southern Yemen, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement expressing deep concern. The Yemeni government security forces fired live bullets at peaceful demonstrators protesting against the deteriorating living conditions in the city of Mukalla in the Hadramout Governorate, killing young man Salem Bugshan, 21, with a direct bullet in the head. Several others were wounded.

Yemeni Civil Society and the Impact of COVID-19: A Survey of Perceptions and Responses to the Pandemic (2020)
The COVID-19 outbreak is further diverting critically needed human and material resources away from already weak and underfunded essential services, including assistance to people with disabilities, the elderly, refugees and migrants, women and girls, and other vulnerable groups.

UN official criticizes restrictions on humanitarian operations in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen (November 2019)
Ursula Mueller, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council that despite recent limited improvements, the Houthi authorities continue to enforce a growing number of restrictive regulations on humanitarian action.

International Relief and Humanitarian Organizations in Yemen (April 2019)
International humanitarian and aid organizations are using the crisis in Yemen to implement humanitarian projects the funds of which are not fully used to aid suffering Yemenis.

Prolonged detention and torture of 10 journalists illustrates risks (April 2019)
The arbitrary detention of 10 journalists for nearly four years by the Huthi de facto authorities is a grim indicator of the dire state of media freedom in Yemen, said Amnesty International, demanding their immediate release ahead of World Press Freedom Day.

Ministry of Social Affairs stopped the work of 100 CSOs (February 2019)
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor in Sana’a announced the suspension of the activities of about 100 civil society organizations after it was revealed that they received support and funding from hostile countries.

News Archive

Civilians at mercy of sniping, shelling and airstrikes (February 2018)

Yemen 2017/2018 Report (February 2018)

Text of the Resolution of the 36th Session in Geneva on Human Rights Violations in Yemen (September 2017)

Yemen: An “entirely man-made catastrophe” – UN human rights report urges international investigation(September 2017)

Economic Media Report: 132 Violations against Press Freedom in First Half of 2017 (August 2017)

Yemen’s Houthi and Saleh coalition stops UNICEF activities until further notice (February 2017)

Studies and Economic Media Center report on freedom of the press in Yemen (January 2017)

Studies and Economic Media Center survey on CSO sustainability during war (May 2016)

How are civil society organizations working in Yemen?
(April 2016)

Human Rights Report from the Yemeni Observatory for Human Rights
(March 2016)

Arbitrarily Held by the Houthi (January 2016)

Huthi Armed Group Must End Crackdown On Human Rights Defenders and NGOs (December 2015)

Civil Society Key Theme at National Dialogue Conference (December 2014)

Yemeni women play key role in civil society (October 2014)

Yemeni security forces disperse separatist protest in Aden, 2 killed (February 2014)

Dispute between political parties will affect elections process (August 2013)

Journalists attacked, threatened amid Yemen protests (May 2013)

Human Rights Violations in the South of Yemen (December 2012)

Yemen aims to improve NGO sector through regulation and guidance (November 2012)

Youth initiatives in volunteerism (November 2012)

A National Independent Human Rights Commission (October 2012)

Workshop to discuss the Law on Associations (October 2012)

CSOs agree to partake in national dialogue in Yemen (August 2012)

IIRO calls for quick relief aid to save millions of Yemenis (July 2012)

Alarm bells over worsening humanitarian crisis (May 2012)

Tribal leaders discuss transitional justice law (May 2012)

Formation of a Common Entity (May 2012)

Law on Access to Information is passed (April 2012)

Servants protest for being marginalized (April 2012)

Minister discusses draft Transitional Justice Law and Human Rights Commission with civil society (March 2012)

No immunity for Yemen’s Saleh abroad: Human Rights Watch (February 2012)

Coping with unrest – aid workers turn to the community (January 2012)

UN rights council slams Yemen violations (September 2011)

U.N. accuses Yemen of using deadly force in protests (September 2011)

Targeted repression continues in Bahrain and Yemen (May 2011)

French aid group mulls Yemen staff pullback (May 2011)

Yemen: violent protests as pact divides opposition and youth activists (April 2011)

Yemen’s neighbors step up role in pushing for Saleh’s exit (April 2011)

UN human rights office voices concern at recent events in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria (March 2011)

In Yemen, female activist strives for an Egypt-like revolution (February 2011)

Women Journalists Without Chains Condemns the Death of a Woman and the Injury of Two Women During Women’s Demonstrations (January 2011)

Yemen adds to the protest in the Middle East (January 2011)

The foregoing information was collected by Ghazi Al Samey, President of the Activist Organization for Development and Human Rights in Ta’iz, Yemen.