The United Nations Human Rights Council condemned the continued violations against Yemeni civilians, stressing that they fall on all parties to the conflict, led by the Saudi-led coalition and the de facto authorities (Houthis), the Yemeni government, and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council.
The Group of Experts’ investigations showed that violations reported include airstrikes and bombing, failure to adhere to the principles of international humanitarian law, restrictions on humanitarian relief, and obstacles to accessing food and health care, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.
In its fourth report to the Human Rights Council, the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts reviewed its findings on the severe violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by the parties to the conflict in Yemen.
The report, titled “A Forgotten Nation: An Appeal to Humanity to End the Suffering of Yemen,” was released on September 8, 2021, and covers the period from July 2020 to June 2021.
As the conflict in Yemen enters its seventh year, the report includes the findings of the Panel of Experts’ investigations conducted last year and a selective retrospective analysis from previous mandate periods.
The violations mentioned include airstrikes and shelling, failure to adhere to the principles of international humanitarian law, restrictions on humanitarian relief, and obstacles to accessing food and health care.
The violations also included arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, denial of the right to a fair trial, violation of fundamental freedoms, persecution and abuse of journalists, human rights defenders and minorities migrants, internally displaced persons, and violations of children’s rights.
The report stressed that the responsibility for the violations lies with all parties to the conflict, as the violations were committed by the Yemeni government, the Southern Transitional Council, members of the coalition and the de-facto authorities.
According to the Panel of Experts, some of the violations identified may amount to international crimes. The relatively meagre developments in accountability were in no way appropriate or sufficient to end the “pandemic of impunity” as previously described by the Panel of Experts.
“We are concerned that impunity continues unabated to a large extent for those who commit serious abuses, which is exacerbating insecurity in Yemen. Human rights violations must be called for what they are: threats to peace, security and development, and a major driver of conflict,” says Mr Kamal Jendoubi, Chair of the Panel of Experts.
The Group of Eminent Experts regrets that no action has been taken on the recommendations made during the previous three mandates. It reiterates the need for the parties to the conflict to agree to a complete cessation of hostilities and to achieve sustainable and comprehensive peace.
The team also stressed that all measures should be taken, by the parties as well as by the international community, to realize the victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation.
Jendoubi warned: “The Yemeni people more than ever need a clear commitment to help them bring lasting peace to their country. This cannot be achieved without strong political will and support for the rule of law and human rights.”
The Panel renewed its call for third countries to stop providing arms and military support to the parties, given the role such transfers play in perpetuating the conflict and possibly contributing to abuses.
The Group of Eminent Experts recommended that the Security Council fully integrate the human rights dimensions of the conflict in Yemen into its agenda and ensure that there is no impunity for the most serious crimes by, inter alia, referring the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court, and expanding the list of persons subject to Security Council sanctions.
Al-Jindoubi concluded: “For nearly seven years, the Yemeni people have suffered from conflict and massive violations. We must act to recognize our common humanity and to act so that the Yemeni people can enjoy their rights and dignity.”