(Photo by Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

Yemen: Saudi Arabia forces an end to mandate of only international mechanism to investigate HR abuses

Responding to today’s vote at the Human Right Council, where not enough states voted to extend the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, following pressure by Saudi Arabia and other coalition partners, Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Regional Director at Amnesty International, said: 

“This vote is an abandonment of the people of Yemen who are today suffering under one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, other coalition members brazenly devoted their energy to defeating the sole international investigative mechanism on Yemen. Countries that voted against or abstained should be ashamed for having abandoned the Yemeni people in their time of need.  

“This vote is in essence a greenlight to all sides to the conflict to carry on with their egregious violations which have upended the lives of millions of Yemenis over the past years. Stopping the GEE will not make the violations disappear. Nor will it end the urgent humanitarian needs of Yemeni civilians, the work of brave human rights defenders and organizations in Yemen, nor our work to support them. We are determined to redouble our efforts to secure justice and reparation for victims of violations in Yemen, including sustaining the GEE’s key recommendations on pathways to accountability. States and UN bodies must do so as well.”   

Background

Over 4 million people have been internally displaced due to the seven-year-old conflict. Serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, and egregious human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict have contributed to the world’s worst human-made humanitarian crisis. Indiscriminate and other unlawful attacks have killed and injured civilians, destroying or damaging civilian homes, medical facilities, and infrastructure, among other civilian sites. These attacks and the simultaneous obstruction of humanitarian assistance have exacerbated the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and left millions of civilians ill, hungry and destitute. Moreover, the country is facing the imminent threat of large-scale famine, and as of June 2021, 16.2 million Yemenis are food insecure.