UN Watch Statement
Item 10 General Debate
Human Rights Council, 31st session, March 23, 2016
Delivered by Ms. Inbal Keren
UN Watch thanks the High Commissioner for his insightful report on the human rights situation in Yemen.
At the same time, is it accurate or just for the Council to define what is happening to the people of Yemen as a matter of “technical assistance and capacity-building”?
Can the international community even offer such assistance while bombs, dropped by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, a member of this very Council, rain down on Yemeni weddings, buses and refugee camps? This military campaign at best fails to distinguish between civilian and military targets, and at worst explicitly targets civilians.
Over 3,000 civilians, including hundreds of children, have been killed. The High Commissioner just stated that the coalition is “responsible for twice as many civilian casualties in Yemen as all other forces put together.”
Meanwhile, a rival power in the region, known for supporting violent groups that target civilians, also bears its share of responsibilty for human rights abuses in Yemen.
To help stop the violations, an effort was made at this Council’s previous session to create an independent, international inquiry — yet this was extinguished by powerful political pressure, led by the same Council member.
In its place came a diluted and muted text, and the plight of the Yemeni people became, in the words of this Council, a “technical” matter.
How many more Yemeni civilians will need to die from indiscriminate bombing before their suffering is recognized as a dire situation of human rights abuse?
UN Watch calls on the Council to exercise its responsibility, under Article 3 of its founding document, to create an independent inquiry to examine whether war crimes are being committed by any party in Yemen, and if necessary, to consider involving the International Criminal Court.
Thank you, Mr. President.