Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Girls & Women

Female Security Forces Beat Women Protesting Missing Family Members in Yemen

A group of women protesting missing men in Yemen were violently beaten by female security guards this week.

The women were chanting "Oh coalition, where are our sons?" in the city of Aden on Wednesday when female security forces starting beating the women. One woman was repeatedly punched in the face after her niquab was removed.

The women were protesting the fact that their male family members have been in custody for no apparent reason. One woman interviewed by the AP said her brother and uncle were taken last August. Her uncle is being held in a prison while her brother’s whereabouts are unknown.

Read More: Yemen’s Famine Is Beyond ‘the Point of No Return,’ UN Agency Warns

The women were protesting near the United Arab Emirate troop’s headquarters. Yemen is mired in a brutal civil war, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia supporting the Yemeni government in a war against Houthi rebels, according to The American Press. Aden is in the south of Yemen.

"Our sons and brothers vanished," the woman missing her brother and uncle told the AP over the phone. "For a year, we know nothing about them."

She said that her brother was a fighter in the south backed by the coalition in 2015 in the war against the Houthi rebels.

Read More: World’s Worst Cholera Outbreak Hits Yemen, UN Says

Hundreds of southern Yemeni men disappeared into secret prisons run by the UAE and loyal forces, including the Security Belt in Aden, according to an investigation by the AP last month. Arrests are made on suspicion of al-Qaida ties in Yemen.

The UAE has denied the existence of these prisons but Yemeni families and former inmates say that torture is common in these prisons, according to the AP.

Almost weekly protests against the disappearances were held last year, but were often stopped by force or by detention threats.

Read More: South Sudan Is No Longer in Famine — But 6 Million Are Still Starving

"We went to the presidency, to the coalition, and to the security chief but no one is talking to us," the teacher told the AP. "The militias are running the country.”

Yemen’s ongoing civil war has taken 10,000 civilian lives, displaced over 3 million people and pushed the poorest people towards famine.