UN ends Yemen war crimes investigation to outcry from rights groups

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United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) low vote 21-18 Yemen on Thursday to end the body’s war crimes investigation despite pressure from western states to continue the mission.

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why it matters: More than 8,200 civilians, including 2,270 children, have been killed, and 13,283 civilians injured since 2015, in political conflict between the Saudi-led military coalition and Iran-allied Houthi rebels. UNHRC says.

  • Independent investigators have said both sides committed possible war crimes, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture.
  • About 80% of Yemen’s population is in need of humanitarian aid, which includes more than 12 million children, according to UNICEF.

description: However, Thursday’s vote defeated a resolution for the first time in the 15-year history of the UNHRC, per Reuters.

  • Bahrain and Russia helped advance the vote of the Western opposition among the 47 members of the council.
    • Bahrain’s ambassador Youssef Abdulkarim Boucheri argued during the debate that the international group of investigators had contributed to the spread of misinformation about the situation.
    • Amnesty International later accused Saudi Arabia To put pressure on the council to end its mission.
    • Saudi Arabia is not a voting member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, although Bahrain is an ally.
  • Dutch Ambassador Peter Baker called the vote a major setback.
  • A spokesman said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would continue to press for accountability in Yemen, according to Reuters.
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What are they saying: “Words can’t describe our despair” Mawatana said for human rights, an independent Yemeni human rights organization. The group said the vote “gives the warring parties a green light to continue their campaign of death and destruction.”

  • Akshay Kumar, director of Crisis Advocacy at Human Rights Watch, said the failure to renew the mandate is “a stain on the record of the Human Rights Council”. tweeted in response.
  • “By voting against the much-needed mandate, the council turned its back on the victims, succumbed to pressure from the Saudi-led coalition, and put politics before principle.”

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