Some Arab countries and EU, block efforts for Saudi war crimes in Yemen

Some Arab countries and EU, block efforts for Saudi war crimes in Yemen

A brutal conflict and a fast-deteriorating humanitarian situation are devastating the lives of millions of children in Yemen and have brought the country to the point of collapse. A UNICEF report, Children of the brink, highlights the heavy toll that the violence in Yemen is having on children and the deterioration in an already precarious humanitarian situation. A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Houthis in Yemen since March of 2015 after it pushed the country’s president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, into exile. Saudis has bombed civilian-heavy areas in the country, most recently bombing even medical facilities and schools. The toll of war has been particularly hard on children. Preventing disease and death among children in the country has been set back almost a decade, according to UNICEF, More than 1.5 million children are suffering from malnourishment. And while diplomats continue to spar in Geneva, the humanitarian situation on the ground in Yemen continues to deteriorate. “At least 7 million people ― a quarter of the population ― are living under emergency levels of food crisis, the World Food Programme said in June 2016. The vast majority of civilian casualties have been caused by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which is backed by the USA and UK.
The decision is a major blow to the attempt, led by the Netherlands, at a resolution that would instead require an international inquiry into the atrocities unfolding in Yemen. This is the second year in a row that the council managed to agree only on a national inquiry, which tends to be one-sided and ignorant of the degree to which people are suffering.
It should be mentioned here that, several parties, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, the UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide and the responsibility to protect, and humanitarian organisations, as well as the European Parliament in its previous resolution, have recommended establishing an independent and impartial international mechanism to investigate alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law in Yemen. Moreover, the Government of the Netherlands had been pursuing a resolution that called for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct an independent international investigation in September 2017.
But, It is unfortunate that a draft resolution tabled by the Netherlands, calling for a UN mission to document violations by all sides in Yemen and put before the UN Human Rights Council, was withdrawn on 30 September 2015, following intense pressure from Saudi Arabia and owing to insufficient and failing to gain sufficient international backing.
It is sad to say that just after a couple of days,  the Council adopted a resolution tabled by Saudi Arabia on behalf of Arab states involved in the conflict and the Yemeni government of  Mansour Hadi, which fails to establish an international mechanism to investigate such violations and abuses by parties to the conflict.
Many believed that “This resolution reflects a shocking failure by the Human Rights Council to meet its obligation to ensure justice and accountability, and sends a message that the international community is not serious about ending the suffering of civilians in Yemen,” said James Lynch, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
In fact, it was drafted by Saudi Arabia, which is leading the military coalition that has itself committed serious violations of international law in Yemen, with evidence pointing to war crimes.”
This resolution reflects a shocking failure by the Human Rights Council to meet its obligation to ensure justice and accountability, and sends a message that the international community is not serious about ending the suffering of civilians in Yemen (James Lynch, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International). Backing from some key countries, including EU Member States; whereas a watered-down resolution lacking any reference to an independent UN inquiry was approved instead on a national investigation, which will likely not yield much.
While the EU resolution mentioned of Saudi targeting on civilians, the Arabs resolution makes no mention of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and fails to mention expressly the coalition’s ongoing military campaign in Yemen. It requests the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to assist a national commission of inquiry set-up by the internationally recognized Yemeni government, which is backed by Saudi Arabia. But, it does not work. It is believed that the only way to ensure the truth is through an effective and independent international investigation.”
whereas a draft resolution tabled by the Netherlands, calling for a UN mission to document violations by all sides in Yemen and put before the UN Human Rights Council, was withdrawn on 30 September 2015 following intense pressure from Saudi Arabia and owing to insufficient backing from some key countries, including EU Member States; whereas a watered-down resolution lacking any reference to an independent UN inquiry was approved instead. Again in 27th of Feb. 2016, European Parliament resolution on the situation in Yemen (2016/2515-RSP), Calls for an urgent, independent and effective international investigation of alleged violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law in Yemen, and urges Member States to support such an investigation in the UN Human Rights Council ).
However, we have not seen any action to establish an urgent independent and effective international investigation. People want to know why European countries, have not backed the Netherlands resolution in September 2015, in the Human Rights Council, but they have taken a resolution in the EU parliament without any serous action?
People called this policy, as a hypocritical policy.


Gholam-Reza Khaji
A member of   Academic Board of Ferdowsi University

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