UN Photo / Jean-Marc FerrŽ

Yemen: Renew mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts

Human Rights Council member states face a key test later this week as they are set to vote on the renewal of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) on Yemen, the only international mechanism mandated since 2017 to investigate violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict, Amnesty International said today.  Over the past week, Saudi Arabia and other coalition partners have increased their pressure on members of the Human Rights Council to end the GEE’s mandate later this week.

“The Group of Eminent Experts for Yemen has been a solitary and stalwart platform bringing vital international scrutiny to the violations and abuses committed during the conflict in Yemen. Over the past four years, the GEE has issued extensive reports documenting an appalling litany of human rights abuses and violations committed by all parties to the conflict –including arbitrary deprivation of life, recruitment of child soldiers, enforced disappearances, torture, indiscriminate attacks and acute impunity. Failure to renew the GEE’s mandate would signal a bitter abandonment -even betrayal – of the people of Yemen by the international community,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Failure to renew the GEE’s mandate would signal a bitter abandonment -even betrayal – of the people of Yemen by the international community.

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

“During its tenure, the GEE has also provided important recommendations to parties to the conflict, as well as other national, regional, and international actors. Its calls for accountability and compliance with international law are key to addressing the intolerable suffering faced by countless people in Yemen and will provide the justice and redress that so many victims yearn for. 

“We urge all states at the Human Rights Council to stand steadfast against pressure, vote with their conscience and ensure the work of the Group of Eminent Experts is not only sustained, but its recommendations on pathways to accountability are heeded.”

Background

In September 2017, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) established a Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) on Yemen to investigate violations and abuses of international law committed by all parties to the conflict and provide general recommendations on improving the human rights situation in Yemen. The GEE is charged with establishing the facts and circumstances surrounding violations and abuses and, where possible, identifying those responsible.

The Council renewed the mandate of the GEE in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

In its four reports published thus far, the GEE has documented violations of international law, some amounting to war crimes, committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen. The GEE has stressed the urgency of achieving sustainable and inclusive peace, ensuring accountability for perpetrators of violations, and realizing victims’ rights to reparations.