Sept. 2 (7pm): Yemeni Activists & CCR Attorney Address Human Rights Violations & “War on Terror”

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Dear CCR supporter,

On September 2, 2010, at 7pm, please join us at the Brecht Forum in New York City for Confronting State Violence, Targeted Killing, and Human Rights Abuse in the U.S.-Yemen partnership to fight the “War on Terror,” a public discussion featuring renowned Yemeni activists and a CCR human rights attorney. (The Brecht Forum is located on 451 West Street between Bank and Bethune Streets. For directions, please see:

The U.S. government describes Yemen as “an important partner in the global war on terrorism” while at the same time characterizing it as an Al-Qaida stronghold. The Yemeni government has taken advantage of the U.S. partnership and increasing military aid to justify its domestic “anti-terror campaigns” which have resulted in egregious human rights violations, including mass arrests, illegal abductions, enforced disappearances, torture, and killings. The victims of this violence are not only alleged militants and their families, but Yemeni dissidents and journalists critical of their government. The “war on terror” has served as a cover for the Yemeni state to increase repression and militarization in response to its own internal political crises — all with the tacit approval of the international community.

Visiting Yemeni human rights activists will discuss what they are doing to resist this mounting repression and to create a meaningfully democratic and peaceful future. Learn about the political climate in Yemen, and together think through what ethical solidarity with Yemeni people might look like. Also hear from a CCR lawyer who is trying to stop a “targeted killing” by the United States in Yemen and who represents men detained at Guantánamo — where Yemeni men constitute the largest group of remaining prisoners, all declared by the Obama administration to be indefinitely detainable without charge based solely on their nationality.

Developing an understanding of this political reality is crucial to ending the U.S. government’s complicity in more human rights abuses, and to stopping the creation of a boundless war without end that threatens our collective safety.


Annette Warren Dickerson
Director of the Education and Outreach Department

List of Panelists:

  • Tawakkol Karman is chairwoman of the Yemeni non-government organization Women Journalists Without Chains, which campaigns for freedom of the press in Yemen and against human rights violations. She is a very prominent young activist, and Reporters Without Borders chose her in 2009 as one of the top seven women who have led change in the world. Karman is among the activists who in 2007 launched the “Phase of Protests and Sit-ins” in Yemen, holding regular sit-ins in the capital’s Freedom Square to demand democratic reforms and an end to human rights violations — including the harassment and imprisonment of journalists and dissidents, closure of critical newspapers, and censorship of news articles. She is one of only 13 women on the legislative Shura Council of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (Islah), the leading opposition party. Her outspoken condemnation of the government’s human rights abuses has inspired scores of other women activists to similarly resist injustice. Karman has helped write numerous reports on freedom of expression, corruption, extremism, and violent repression of dissidents in Yemen, and has called for political reform and dialogue.
  • Ezz-Adeen Saeed Ahmed Al-Asbahi is the president of Human Rights Information & Training Center (HRITC), a non-governmental organization which seeks to enhance human rights in Yemen and the Arab World, focusing on the Gulf States in particular. HRITC has consultative status with the United Nations, offers training courses and forums on human rights, publishes a quarterly human rights magazine called Our Rights, and has published 30 books on law and human rights. Al-Asbahi is also the coordinator of a large regional network of human rights activists in the Gulf States and the Peninsula, and the president of a Yemeni network of human rights organizations which includes six Yemeni NGOs. A journalist and researcher, he has published eight books on literature and human rights. He is also the head of the civil society sector of the Supreme National Authority to Combat Corruption.
  • Pardiss Kebriaei is a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City. She joined the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at CCR in July 2007, and provides direct representation to several of CCR’s clients at Guantánamo. She is also working on a lawsuit to challenge a U.S. government kill-list and the targeting of a U.S. citizen now in Yemen and far from any armed conflict with the United States.
  • Leili Kashani (moderator and discussant): is the Education and Outreach Associate for the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City. She advocates for a just closure of the prison at Guantánamo, resettlement for the men still detained, and against illegal detentions more broadly. She has written about and advocated against the Obama administration’s policy of indefinitely detaining all the Yemeni men who remain in Guantánamo.

*This event is co-sponsored by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Brecht Forum.

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