UN rights chief urges Yemen probe into protest deaths

11th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called on Yemen's government to investigate alleged killings of pro-reform demonstrators.

"We call on the government to exercise restraint and to investigate all allegations of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations at the hands of the security forces," said spokesman Rupert Colville.

"The office is very concerned by allegations of the excessive use of force by some security forces," he added.

Colville said about 37 protesters and at least six security officers had reportedly been killed since the unrest started in Yemen.

The killings highlighted by the UN human rights office included those of two demonstrators at Sanaa University on March 9, the deaths of two or three prisoners in riots at Sanaa central prison on March 8 and the alleged killing of two protestors on March 4 near the town of Harf Sufyan, in the northern province of Amran.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday pledge to devolve power to parliament and hold a referendum after about a month of protests, but the move was swiftly rejected as too late by the opposition.

He also ordered his security forces to ensure the safety of anti-government protestors after weeks of unrest.

© 2011 AFP

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