Joint Press Release
The Arab ICT Organization (IJMA3) and the Arab Internet Freedom Alliances (Haqouna)
Exclusive Document for Haqouna: Yemen’s Communications and Internet is Threatened
Beirut: April 29, 2015
A document from the Ministry of Telecom (MoT) to the Ministry of Energy (MoE) was leaked to Haqouna. It documents a communication between two parties, which includes a threat that if the Ministry of Energy does not provide the Ministry of Telecom with enough oil, they will “shut down telecom and internet services all over the country.” This could be understood in two ways: if the MoE does not provide the MoT with enough oil, they will not have enough energy to operate the Internet; or it could be seen as a threat and extortion. Haqouna and IJMA3 do not comment on the motives of this letter, however we want to highlight that this would be a violation of Internet freedom in Yemen.
The above referenced document stated that the general manager of the wired and wireless telecom services Eng. Sadek said, “in the light of the sensitivity and criticality of the situation, we would like to inform you that giving the continuous shortage in oil products, and the absence of enough quantities of diesel to operate the centrals on the national center and branches in the governorates, the Telecom services will not continue in service for a period that exceeds one week from the date of this letter.
Therefore, we clear our responsibility if that happens, and we hold no responsibility towards any consequences of shutting down all telecom services (land lines, internet, and international communications) across the country, including services, economic, financial, security and any other consequences.”
The Arab ICT Organization (IJMA3) and the Arab Internet Freedom Alliance (Haqouna) call upon the immediate and uninterrupted reconnection of the Internet. Cutting the Internet services in Yemen violates all the Principles of the Arab Alliance to Internet Freedom and especially the First and Third Principles of the Arab Internet Freedom Alliance which state that “every person should enjoy the same protection online, as offline, as this is a basic human right and is not negotiable under any circumstances” and “guaranteed and assuring internet access without service interruption, prohibiting, filtering, and promoting the exchange of information between individuals and communities.”
The Arab ICT Organization (IJMA3) and the Arab Internet Freedom Alliance (Haquna) announce their reservation about the intention behind sending this letter at this timing, and highlights its seriousness, and engaging the rights of Yemeni citizen into this dilemma.
IJMA3 (The Arab ICT Organization) is an international non-governmental non-profit organization established in 2004 and headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon and consists of a consortium of more than 19 national ICT association members from 15 countries across the MENA region. As the regional voice of the ICT industry, IJMA3 is dedicated to advocating policies that advance the industry's growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in ICT products and services. www.ijma3.org
About the Arab Internet Freedom Alliance
The Arab Internet Freedom Alliance is a regional coalition formed by the member states Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Tunisia that met due to believing in the importance and vitality of Internet after its use has become closely associated with human rights, economic growth, and one of the essential human renewable knowledge and living needs. It plays the role of monitor accordingly with the alliances in each of the 5 countries, and acknowledges the necessity of establishing a legislating framework regarding organizing each country’s users’ dealing with the Internet, committing to the importance of protecting the internet users, without touching or derogation of any of their rights to access the service, and recognizing the right of some community segments to have special attention to access and make use of the Internet. www.haquna.org