In its fourth report to the Human Rights Council, the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen presents its findings on serious violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by the parties to the conflict in Yemen. The report titled “A nation abandoned: A call to humanity to end Yemen’s suffering” was released on 8 September 2021, and covers the period from July 2020 to June 2021.
As the conflict in Yemen enters its seventh year, the report includes findings of the Group of Experts’ investigations carried out last year and a select retrospective analysis from previous mandate periods. The violations outlined include airstrikes and shelling, failing to abide by international humanitarian law principles, humanitarian restrictions as well as obstacles to access to food and healthcare, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, denial of fair trial rights, violations of fundamental freedoms, persecution and violations against journalists, human rights defenders, minorities, migrants, internally displaced persons and violation of children’s rights.
Responsibility for the violations rests with all parties to the conflict, with violations committed by the Government of Yemen, the southern transitional council, members of the coalition and the de facto authorities.
According to the Group of Experts, some of the violations identified may amount to international crimes. The relatively minor developments in the accountability sphere have by no means been adequate or sufficient to quell the ‘pandemic of impunity’ that the Group of Experts has previously described.
“We are concerned that impunity continues largely unabated for those who perpetrate serious violations, which only adds to the insecurity in Yemen. Violations of human rights need to be called out for what they are – threats to peace, security and development, and a key driver of conflict” said Kamel Jendoubi, the Chairperson of the Group of Experts.
The Group of Eminent Experts regrets that, to a large extent, recommendations made over the past three mandates have not been acted upon. It reiterates the urgency for parties to the conflict to agree to a full cessation of hostilities and to achieve a sustainable and inclusive peace. The Group also stressed that all measures should be taken, by the parties as well as by the international community, to realize victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation.
“More than ever, the Yemeni people need an unambiguous commitment to helping them to bring lasting peace to their country. This cannot be achieved without strong political will and support for the rule of law and human rights,” warned Jendoubi.
The Group reiterates its call for third States to stop providing arms and military support to the parties given the role of such transfers in perpetuating the conflict and potentially contributing to violations. The Group of Eminent Experts recommends that the Security Council integrate the human rights dimensions of the conflict in Yemen more fully into its agenda and ensure there is no impunity for the most serious crimes by, inter alia, referring the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court, and expanding the list of persons subject to Security Council sanctions.
“For nearly seven years, the people of Yemen have suffered through conflict and egregious violations. We must be stirred into action to recognise our common humanity, and to act so that the people of Yemen can enjoy their rights and dignity” concluded Jendoubi.
About the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen (Group of Experts)
In its resolution 36/31 (2017), the Human Rights Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a group of eminent international and regional experts on Yemen to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in the country. The Group of Eminent Experts (Group of Experts) was mandated to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and other appropriate and applicable fields of international law committed by all parties to the conflict since September 2014, including the possible gender dimensions of such violations. The mandate of the Group of Experts also includes its duty to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and abuses and, where possible, to identify those responsible.
The current members of the Group of Experts are:
- Mr.Kamel Jendoubi (Tunisia) – Chairperson
- Ms. Melissa Parke (Australia)
- Mr. Ardi Imseis (Canada)