Yemen: government condemns 20% tax imposed by Houthis

Minister of human rights calls law 'dangerous and divisive'

Google Translate of WAM caption: 'An international report documenting over a year Houthi militia forces in favor of crimes' Courtesy Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations
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Yemen’s government has condemned a new tax law enacted this month by the Houthi rebels in areas under their control in the country's north.

The law imposes a 20 per cent religious tax on people and local governments to be paid to the Houthis.

The Yemeni Minister of Human Rights, Dr Mohammed Askar, on Wednesday called on the Yemeni Parliament and all state and civil institutions to reject the new law enacted by the Houthi Supreme Political Council in Sanaa.

"This law is very dangerous and racial one," Dr Askar told The National. "It divides the Yemen society into two classes."

He said the tax law allowed the Houthis to "loot 20 per cent of the Yemenis' income and the state economic resources".

“Such a law will cause catastrophic consequences on the future of human rights and stability in Yemen,” Dr Askar said.

Lawyers in Houthi-held areas said the amendment was not legal and not approved by the Quran, Sharia or the Yemeni constitution.

“The article No 41 in the Yemeni constitution stated that the Yemeni citizens are all equal in rights and duties, and the article No 25 stated that the Yemeni society is based on social solidarity, which is based on justice, freedom and equality," one lawyer said.

"This proves that the new bylaw regarding the collection of the religious tax issued by the Houthi authorities is baseless."

Fatima Alasrar, a Yemen conflict analyst and non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, said: “At a time when the world is standing up to injustice and inequality, the Houthis seek the opposite by institutionalising injustice and granting themselves financial allowances based on a claim that they are ... superior to other Yemeni citizens."