The following is a joint NGO statement delivered by Osamah Al-Fakih at the Item 2 Interactive Dialogue during the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Thank you Mr. President,
This statement is delivered on behalf of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Mwatana for Human Rights, Amnesty International, International Federation for Human Rights, PAX, International Service for Human Rights, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
Distinguished member states, we urge you to strongly support the renewal and strengthening of the Group of Eminent Experts’ mandate. The situation in Yemen requires nothing less.
We welcome the GEE’s report, which highlights the responsibility of all parties to the conflict in Yemen for the continuous deterioration of the human rights situation. Parties to the conflict continue to carry out human rights abuses, serious violations of international humanitarian law and acts that may amount to war crimes.
The warring parties continue to show complete disregard of international law, and to enjoy impunity for their abuses.
On the 31st of August, an airstrike conducted by the Coalition on a Houthi detention center killed more than 100 people. The Houthis held about 170 civilians and fighters in the center, including at least seven children. Four of those children were killed in the coalition attack.
The Human Rights Council is the only international venue open for Yemeni victims.
It is time for states to act to deter further violations and protect civilians, including by supporting a strong, independent investigation on Yemen, and by ending arms sales to parties to the conflict, which are likely to be used to commit violations in Yemen.
The deterioration of the situation in Yemen requires not only the renewal of the GEE’s mandate but also its strengthening. The GEE itself recommended that the Council give it a clear mandate to collect and preserve evidence of alleged violations, and ensure that adequate resources are provided to the group to ensure continuity of operations.
States should make clear that the GEE’s mandate includes conducting investigations in order to ensure accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims. State parties should support the report’s recommendation that a “comprehensive accountability process” be established in order to achieve long-term peace and stability in Yemen.
Supporting the GEE and strengthening its mandate, are first steps in this direction.
Thank you, Mr President.