Digital Rights and Cybersecurity Violations by Houthis
GENEVA, June 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Gathering on the sidelines of the 50th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Yemen Coalition of Independent Women and its partner organizations, including The Washington Outsider, addressed the nexus between the human rights violations by the Iran-backed Houthi militias (Ansar Allah) in Yemen and the security risks to the region and the international community. At the June 17 symposium on human rights abuses in Yemen, Senior Director for Countering Extremism Dr. Hans Jacob Schindler discussed the Houthi threats to regional and global security by the use of ballistic missiles against Yemen’s residential areas and displacement camps, and attacks on economic infrastructure and vital installations in Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Addressing Iran’s arming, training, funding, and political support for Ansar Allah and the Houthi connections to other Iranian proxies in the region, Dr. Schindler confirmed that the Houthis had received material support and training from Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia, and that Yemen had become a testing ground for Iran and Hezbollah. Dr. Schindler asserted that the Houthis represented a real threat to international navigation in the Red Sea by transforming public ports into operational centers through which international shipping lines, commercial and humanitarian vessels were targeted, booby-trapped, and pirated.
In the June 19th seminar on Houthi violations against media freedom, Irina Tsukerman, who moderated the panel, stated that Houthis use cyberspace to raise funds and to block anti-Houthi websites, and to spy on citizens. She added that the Houthis used communications and information technology and infrastructure they controlled to support military operations. The Houthi punished the Yemeni people and cut off internet service in 2018 from 80% of the area of Yemen. The Houthi control of the main internet provider in the country gave them information monopoly and frustrated resistance. Tsukerman stressed that Houthi control of the internet isolates the Yemeni population from the rest of the world, citing the importance of helping Yemen restore internet access and end militia control as a necessary priority to end the war.
The seminar also discussed the impact of the arbitrary detentions, torture, and assaults on journalists, the bans of media outlets, and the hacking and cell phone searches and seizures, as well as the impact on information flow about security and on digital rights in Yemen.