|Dear friends across the UK,
Right now, 200 youngsters are locked in a cramped jail, 40 to a cell, waiting to hear whether their government will execute them. But in just 24 hours we have a rare moment to end this child killing when Yemeni ministers meet with Western governments for a major summit in London.
This scandal has just been exposed and Yemeni officials are saying if it explodes they will be forced to act. Let’s build a massive public outcry and force our foreign secretary William Hague — who is co-hosting the summit and supporting Yemen with significant amounts of aid — to demand juvenile offenders get off death row for good.
This is our chance to stop these barbaric and illegal executions. If 50,000 join this call before the meeting then we will deliver the petition to the Yemeni and British foreign ministers in London. Click here to sign and send this to everyone to end the execution of Yemeni youngsters:
Yemen is one of only a handful of countries in the world that still executes its young. Without access to a lawyer and denied a fair trial, a wave of protest among juvenile offenders has swept through Sanaa Central Prison as more than 70 young men and women enter their second month of hunger strike.
The hunger strikers are calling for an end to physical abuse and torture and to be retried in special juvenile courts. Some have reported cases of electrocution, beating on the soles of their feet and hanging by their wrists — after which they say they would confess to anything.
But there is hope. Momentum is building with a damning report just released by Human Rights Watch which reveals that since 2007, Yemen has executed 15 child offenders, and given death sentences to dozens more. And while juvenile executions are on the rise, the country’s human rights minister told Avaaz’s local partners that with enough international pressure the government will be forced to end these horrific abuses.
Hague will not want to be associated with such violence. Let’s make him speak out this week. Sign now to end juvenile executions:
Across the world, our community has time and again stood up to protect the victims of human rights abuses, and our voices have been heard. Let’s do it again for these Yemeni children now and demand international law is upheld and juvenile executions end for good.
Sam, Alice, Ricken, Will, Mais, Emily and the whole Avaaz team.
Yemen should stop child executions, says Human Rights Watch (The Guardian):
Yemen unyielding on child executions (Al Jazeera):
Report highlights torture and execution of juvenile offenders in Yemen (Foreign Policy): http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/03/04/report_highlights_torture_and_execution_of_juvenile_offenders_in_yemen
Yemen: Juvenile Offenders Face Execution (Human Rights Watch):