‘Climate of fear’ continues to grow in Yemen – UN rights experts


There has been no let-up in more than six years of conflict in Yemen and the “climate of fear” among civilians continues, a panel of UN-appointed independent rights experts said on Wednesday.

In a new report commissioned by the UN’s Human Rights Council into how the war in Yemen has been waged over the last 12 months, the panel condemned the same “egregious” violations that have characterized their previous findings.

These include airstrikes by the Saudi-led international coalition that supports the Yemeni Government, and “indiscriminate” shelling of civilians, “particularly by the Houthis but also by the Government of Yemen and the Coalition”.

In the document, entitled: A nation abandoned: A call to humanity to end Yemen’s suffering, the Group of Eminent Experts also cited the Southern Transitional Council as being responsible for specific violations, adding that its power-sharing deal with the Government of Yemen, based in the southern city of Aden, “remains largely dysfunctional”.

The report stressed that all parties to the conflict were responsible for violations, many of which may amount to international crimes.

Examples include humanitarian restrictions and obstacles to access to food and healthcare; arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, gender-based violence, including sexual violence; torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; denial of fair trial rights; violations of fundamental freedoms; persecution and violations against journalists, human rights defenders, minorities, migrants and internally displaced persons; and violations of children’s rights.

The report also highlights how intense hostilities have been on the Ma’rib front in the past 12 months and in many other locations.

The Group expressed regret that the coalition appears not to take their findings and recommendations on the conduct of its military operations seriously.

These include the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack to protect civilians and civilian objects.

“The climate of fear, lawlessness and impunity for all those living in Yemen has worsened further despite political agreements and high-level discussions between key actors”, said Kamel Jendoubi, the Chairperson of the Group of Eminent Experts.

The experts warned that everyday life in Yemen is now “unbearable for many”, as, in addition to the conflict, people have to contend with disease outbreaks, the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding, import restrictions, an economic and fuel crisis, and limited humanitarian aid.

The Group of Eminent Experts urged a full cessation of hostilities and an end to the supply of arms to Yemen by third parties.

The experts also stressed perpetrators must be held accountable for the violations committed. The report highlights steps that can be taken, including making the peace process more inclusive and encouraging a commitment to accountability in peace talks.

The report urged the Council to ensure that the situation of human rights in Yemen remains on its agenda by renewing the Group’s mandate beyond one year; and by ensuring that the necessary human and financial resources are provided.

The experts reiterated that the Security Council should integrate the human rights dimensions of the conflict in Yemen more fully into its agenda and ensure that there is no impunity for the most serious crimes.

This includes referring the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and expanding the list of persons subject to Security Council sanctions. (Source: UN News)