UN ends Yemen war crimes investigation in loss for western states

a pro-government tribal hunter stands in a position where he fights against the Houthis in Marib, Yemen October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Ali Owidha

  • Bahrain, allies succeed in to block down UN investigation
  • First time a resolution is rejected in Human Rights Council history
  • “This Council has failed the people of Yemen,” Dutch envoy says
  • UN chief Guterres still sees need for accountability

GENVE, October 7 (Reuters) – Bahrain, Russia and other members of the UN Human Rights Council pushed through a vote on Thursday to met shut down the body investigation into war crimes in Yemen, in a painful defeat for western states who tried to keep the mission to go.

Members narrowly voted to reject a Netherlands-led resolution to give the independent investigators have two more years to monitor the atrocities in The conflict in Yemen.

It marked the first time in the 15-year history that a resolution was rejected.

The independent researchers have said: in the past that potential war crimes have been committed by all parties in the seven-year conflict that a Saudi-led coalition against Iran-affiliated Houthi rebels.

More than 100,000 people killed and 4 million displaced, activist groups say.

Dutch ambassador Peter Bekker said: vote was a major setback. “I can not help but have the feeling that this Council… failed the people of Yemen,” he told delegates.

“With this vote, the Council has effectively ended his reporting mandate, he has cut this lifeline of the Yemeni people to the international community.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres still believes there is a need for accountability in Yemen, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

“We will keep pressing for accountability in Yemen, a place … in of which burgers have repeatedly seen crimes committed against them,” said Dujarric.

Ambassador Katharine Stasch, German Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, told the council: “While recognizing that the (Saudi Arabia-led) coalition efforts to investigate claims of civilian casualties through the joint incident assessment team, we are convinced that it is indispensable to have a UN-mandated international, independent mechanism working towards accountability for the Yemeni people.”

Rights activists said this week that Saudi Arabia heavily lobbied against the western resolution.

The kingdom is not a voting member of the UN Human Rights Council and its delegation have not responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.

During the debate, Bahraini Ambassador Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri said that the international group of researchers had “contributed to spreading misinformation” over the situation” on the ground” in Yemen.

In the vote called by Saudi ally Bahrain, 21 countries voted against the Dutch resolution including China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia, Venezuela and Uzbekistan. Eighteen including Great Britain, France and Germany voted in favour support the.

There were seven abstentions and the Ukrainian delegation was absent. The United States only has observer status.

Radhya Almutawakel, President of the independent Yemeni activist group mwatana for Human rights, said she was deeply disappointed over the… result.

“By voting against the renewal of the GEE today, UN member states have given green light to warring parties for their campaign of death and destruction in Yemen,” she said, referring to the researchers die be known as the Group of Eminent experts.

John Fishero of Human Rights Watch said the failure to renew the mandate was “a blot” on the record of the Human Rights Council”.

“By voting against this much-needed mandate many states have their back on victims, bow to pressure from the Saudi Arabian-led coalition, and put politics before the principle,” he said.

Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York and Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai; Editing by Alex Richardson, Andrew Heavens and Sonya Hepinstall

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Read More: World News

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