UN group of experts on Yemen issues its fourth report, holding all parties to the conflict responsible for the deteriorating situation
Geneva, 12 September 2021
Translated and edited by: The Committee for Justice
The Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen had issued its fourth report on the human rights situation in Yemen, covering the period from July 2020 to June 2021.
A fundamental lack of political will for peace:
The report, titled “nation abandoned: A call to humanity to end Yemen’s suffering,” reflects the Group of Eminent Experts’ concern about continued hostilities and the perpetration of the same horrific patterns of violations without any significant progress in holding the alleged perpetrators accountable, which indicates a fundamental lack of political will for peace.
Commenting on the reports, Kamel Jendoubi, the Chairperson of the Group of Experts, said: “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.”
The responsibility lies with all parties to the conflict:
The report includes the experts’ findings and patterns of violations demonstrated during the reporting period and the past four years, including the violations that resulted from airstrikes and bombing that failed to comply with the principles of international humanitarian law, restrictions on humanitarian relief and obstacles to accessing food and health care, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, gender-based violence, social violence, including sexual violence, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, denial of the right to a fair trial, violation of fundamental freedoms, violations and persecution of journalists, human rights defenders, minorities, migrants and internally displaced persons, and violations of children’s rights.
The Group of Experts also stressed that the responsibility for violations rests with all parties to the conflict, and the report concluded that the government of Yemen, the de facto authorities, the Southern Transitional Council and members of the coalition committed certain violations. As the Group of Experts has previously stated in its reports, there are no clean hands in this dispute. A large number of violations identified by the Group of Experts may amount to international crimes.
Continuation of hostilities, especially in Marib:
The report pointed out that the hostilities in Yemen during the period under review did not abate, especially on the Marib front, but are continuing and accompanied by damage to civilians. Coalition airstrikes continue to inflict heavy casualties on the civilian population.
The Group of Experts reiterated its concern about the coalition’s failure to adhere to the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution in attacks to protect civilians and civilian objects. The team also concluded that all parties to the conflict launched indiscriminate shelling since the beginning of the conflict, especially the Houthis in addition to the government of Yemen and the coalition. These bombings have harmed and continue to harm civilians and civilian objects and are likely to constitute indiscriminate attacks and reflect a failure to adhere to the principles of distinction and proportionality and to take all necessary precautions in attacks.
A peace agreement must be reached:
The Group of Experts reiterated the need for the parties to the conflict to urgently reach an agreement for a complete cessation of all hostilities and to achieve sustainable and comprehensive peace, as well as urging them to take immediate steps to end the ongoing violations and prevent the commission of new ones. The team also stressed the need for the parties to the conflict and the international community to take all necessary measures to ensure accountability for the perpetrators of violations in Yemen and to realize the victims’ right to truth, justice and compensation.
The group of experts highlighted steps that can be taken from now to enhance Yemen’s readiness for peace, including increasing the inclusiveness of the peace process, encouraging an explicit and principled commitment to accountability during peace talks, creating and maintaining space for debate on transitional justice, prioritizing consultations with victims and developing initiatives that would strengthen the capabilities of Yemeni civil society.