Abandoning Yemen to War Criminals | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Abandoning Yemen to War Criminals

The United Nations body responsible for monitoring and recording human rights abuses effectively abandoned the people of Yemen last week. In a 21-18 vote with seven abstentions, the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) refused to extend the mandate of an independent investigation into war crimes committed by all sides in Yemen. Since its establishment in 2017, the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) had served as a limited mechanism for holding war criminals in the conflict accountable for their outrages against the civilian population. The Saudi government had fought against the establishment of an investigative group early in the war because they wanted to keep the coalition’s crimes concealed from international scrutiny. Now the Saudi government has successfully lobbied enough members of the UNHRC to shut down the investigation into the crimes that they and the other belligerents have committed against the people of Yemen. The vote showed how indifferent most of the world still is to the plight of the people of Yemen after more than six years of carnage and famine.

The Saudis have the most to gain by killing an independent investigation. It is the more than 23,000 coalition airstrikes that have been responsible for most of the civilian deaths in the fighting, and the coalition continues to bomb Yemeni civilian targets without regard for innocent life. The Yemen Data Project has tracked coalition airstrikes since 2015, and it condemned the UNHRC vote as soon as it happened: "This is terrible news for all those seeking accountability and transparency in the conflict in Yemen. This decision gives carte blanche to the conflict’s belligerents to do what they want with zero accountability, oversight or consequences." Aid groups have likewise denounced the council’s capitulation to Saudi pressure. It was the first time since the council was created fifteen years ago that a resolution at the Human Rights Council was rejected, and by all accounts it was Saudi influence that was responsible for the outcome. The Saudi government stands out as one of the worst culprits in the war, and that is why they are so determined to bury the evidence of their crimes.