UN Human Rights Council renews mandate of investigators on Yemen
The UN Human Rights Council has extended the mandate of war crimes investigators on Yemen, despite attempts by Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies to bully their way out of accountability for abuses in an atrocious military campaign against the impoverished Arab country.
On Friday, the United Nations’ top human rights body voted by 21 votes to eight, with 18 abstentions, in favor of prolonging a resolution that renewed an inquiry into human rights in Yemen.
Supporters of the resolution, including Canada and the European Union, had argued that an expert group mandated by the Council last year still had work to do, but opponents alleged it would exacerbate the Yemeni crisis and increase regional instability.
Last week, Human Rights Watch criticized the Riyadh regime’s “campaign to discredit and undermine a UN investigation into abuses by all Yemen’s warring parties,” calling it “yet another blatant attempt to avoid scrutiny of the coalition’s own actions in Yemen.”
UN investigators said in a report last month that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the war on Yemen had caused heavy civilian casualties and some may amount to war crimes. Saudi Arabia rejected their findings.
Meanwhile, a salvo of Saudi missiles and artillery rounds rained down on residential areas in the Monabbih district of Yemen’s northwestern province of Sa’ada on Friday, with no immediate reports of casualties and the extent of damage caused.
Scores of private properties were also badly damaged when Saudi forces targeted areas in the Shada’a district of the same Yemeni province.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Some 15,000 Yemenis have been killed and thousands more injured since the onset of the Saudi-led aggression.
More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.