U.N. Human Rights Experts Renew their Claims about the Disputing Parties in Yemen


Thu, 09-09-2021 07:17 PM, Aden

Geneva (South24)

U.N. human rights experts said that the international community is abandoning millions of Yemeni civilians to a life of intolerable suffering and desperation, as Yemen enters its seventh year of civil war with no end in sight. The statement comes as the three-member UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen presents its findings ahead of a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council next week. 

The United Nations estimates more than 1,200 civilians have been killed or injured in Yemen this year. This is on top of the more than 20,000 civilians who have been killed or injured since the war began in 2015. 

Additionally, the U.N. Humanitarian Office reports about 233,000 people have died of causes related to hunger, disease, lack of health care, a collapsed economy, and other indirect causes.

Eminent Expert Ardi Imsels said that civilians continue to pay the highest price in this conflict, as they sink deeper into hunger, poverty, suffering and despair.

"This year, the group of Eminent Experts continues to have reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict have committed serious violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes," said Imsels. 

"As we have said before, there are no clean hands in this conflict”, he added. 

The group accuses the government of Yemen, supported by the KSA and the UAE, as well as the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels of multiple atrocities. The report documents numerous airstrikes in populated areas by the Saudi-led Coalition and indiscriminate shelling attacks by the Houthis. 

The report said that there are a lot of flaws in the agreement between the STC and the Yemeni government, while the negotiations between the “de facto authority” and the Arab Coalition have not made any tangible progress.

Efforts to internationalize the sanctions

The range of violations committed by all parties include arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and other forms of gender-based sexual violence. In view of the enormous suffering of the Yemeni people, Eminent Expert Melissa Parke says the situation in Yemen should be at the top of the international agenda.

"We are seeing a generation of children caused irreparable harm, forced to be child soldiers, denied their fundamental rights to food and education, to health care," said Parke.

In their report, a summary of which was obtained by “South24”, The Human Right Council's group of experts said that the team investigated more than 15 artillery shellings that resulted in the destruction of civilian lives, most of which were carried out by the Houthis. The report revealed child recruitment practises made by the disputing parties during the war, referring to investigating the cases of two children, who were recruited by the Houthis and being exploited in Marib front.

The report lamented that the investigation about the Photojournalist Nabil Hasan al-Quaety, who was killed in Aden in June 2020 has not achieved essential progress.

The group said that “impunity for these crimes must end. Perpetrators must be held accountable and brought to justice.” The Eminent Experts are calling on states to stop all arms transfers to the parties, which they say are driving the conflict.

The group reiterated its call to take larger and imminent measures including referring the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court.

The report contains a so-called non-exhaustive list of countries that are providing weapons to Yemen’s warring parties. They include Canada, France, Iran, Britain, and the United States.

Doubting and siding 

However, human rights experts raised doubts about the accuracy of the group’s information in the current and previous reports, accusing it of siding with the Houthis and the “Muslim Brotherhood”, the Islah Party which controls the decision making in the Yemeni government.

The Civil Network for Media, Development and Human Rights said that the information issued by the group “lack accuracy and the honesty of providing facts”, accusing it of “relying on the same unbiased and unfair sources, organizations and reports affiliated with parties known by their hostile tendencies towards the Arab Coalition, the STC, and even the Yemeni Government”.

According to the Network’s statement, seen by South24, “the report didn’t provide accurate and objective analysis for the peace efforts, whether made by the international community or the Saudi-led Coalition, and it deliberately accuses all parties. It lacks the moral courage to identify the party behind thwarting these efforts” in a reference to the Houthis.

The network added that “the team of experts has still avoided holding the Houthis responsible for those confirmed serious violations, such as the Aden Airport’s attack on December 30th, 2020 which occurred simultaneously with the arrival of the government”. It also, according to the statement, “lacks the courage to hold the Houthis responsible for their violations in areas under their control, and those which targeted the southern governorates and the Saudi territories”.

Additionally, the report ignored any clear reference to “the violations made by the Muslim Brotherhood’s militias, the Islah Party and the Yemeni Government’s Forces in Marib, Shabwa and Taiz”, according to the statement, and it just blamed the Yemeni Government for all violations committed by the Islah’s militias. 

The network said that the group of experts “ deviated from the accepted standards regarding reporting the human rights situation, by framing the allegations through using lowest and inappropriate requirements”,

Moreover, the team avoided mentioning the violations made by the extremist group, especially ISIS and AQAP, and the role played by the security agencies, the Hadrami and Shabwani Elites, Aden’s Security, the Security Belt and the STC’s Forces, supported by the Arab Coalition, in clearing Aden and the Southern governorates of “terror” according to the Civil Network for Media, Development and Human Rights. 

Source: South 24 Center for News and Studies - Voice of America

Photo: UN flag

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