On 18 March the Global Centre for the Responsibility to protect joined Amnesty International, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, FIDH, Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, International Service for Human Rights, Mwatana for Human Rights and Save the Children in co-sponsoring an event on the conflict in Yemen on the sidelines of the 49th session of the Human Rights Council.
For the past seven years the people of Yemen have suffered from innumerable atrocities. This has been exacerbated by unmitigated impunity and a widening accountability gap. Despite the horrors of the ongoing conflict, on 7 October 2021 the UN Human Rights Council failed to adopt the mandate renewal of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE). The GEE, established in 2017, monitored all alleged violations and abuses of international law in Yemen and produced annual reports detailing likely war crimes and crimes against humanity. The abrupt termination of the GEE, the only international and independent investigative body reporting on violations and abuses in Yemen, was a major setback for all victims.
Since then, there has been a devastating escalation in hostilities. Civilian casualties from hostilities have almost doubled since October as compared to the preceding four months. Meanwhile, the escalation has further deteriorated the humanitarian conditions in the country, worsening a human-made catastrophe that already threatens millions of Yemeni lives. These developments demonstrate the dire civilian impact of accountability gaps and the consequences of impunity that UN member states must urgently work to prevent.
This event assessed the deteriorating situation facing civilians in Yemen since the termination of the GEE in October 2021. It also discussed lessons learned from recent events in Yemen regarding the connection between accountability and the protection of civilians, as well as steps required from the international community to recommit to the fight against impunity and help protect civilian lives.