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Acts that may amount to war crimes committed in Yemen: UN group

All parties to conflict have committed serious violations of international human rights, humanitarian law, say UN experts

Peter Kenny   | 08.09.2021
Acts that may amount to war crimes committed in Yemen: UN group

GENEVA

UN experts said on Wednesday they have again found evidence that people in Yemen’s coalition government, the Southern Transitional Council, and de facto authorities have committed acts that may amount to war crimes.

The Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen said they were issuing their report as the Yemen conflict moves into its seventh year “against the backdrop of an intolerable lack of political will towards its peaceful resolution.”

“This year, the group of eminent experts continues to have reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict have committed serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes,” Ardi Imseis, a group member, said at a UN news conference.

"As we’ve said before, there are no clean hands in this conflict. The government of Yemen, the Southern Transitional Council, and members of the coalition, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

He said the group will present the report to the UN Human Rights Council, which begins a month-long session next Monday.

Since the beginning of the year, hostilities in Yemen have reportedly killed or injured more than 1,200 civilians, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

No inclusive peace, violations continue

“Efforts to agree on a full cessation of hostilities and to achieve a lasting and inclusive peace are yet to materialize,” said Imseis.

“The civilian population continues to pay the highest price in this conflict with unceasing suffering as they sink deeper into hunger and poverty.”

He said despite numerous such reports over the past several years, violations continue in Yemen and the parties do not appear to be taking adequate steps to bring those responsible to account.

This shows they believe they can “continue to act in the same way without any significant consequences,” he added.

“The report includes irreparable harm to children, including through their recruitment into armed forces or groups, and their use in hostilities by parties and through military operations, jeopardizing their lives and access to other rights, including their right to education,” said Imseis.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition, of which the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a member, launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

According to the UN OCHA, the conflict has claimed more than 233,000 lives.

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