Publication Date : Friday 30 September 2016 11:58
The UN Human Rights Council has once again failed to launch an independent international investigation into rights violations in Yemen, with activists reporting “aggressive” Saudi lobbying against such a probe.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, along with a number of EU states, had demanded an independent international inquiry into rights abuses in war-torn Yemen under a strong resolution.
However, the 47-member UN rights council approved by consensus a watered-down version of the text, drafted by Sudan, following days of behind-the-scenes negotiations in Geneva.
The resolution calls on the UN to instruct its investigators “to complement the investigatory work of the national commission” while documenting human rights abuses by all sides in Yemen.
“The resolution provides the Commissioner a clear mandate to send more investigators to Yemen, vigorously investigate abuses by all sides, and report publicly,” said John Fisher, head of the Geneva office of Human Rights Watch.
He said that the resolution also urges UN rights officials to present an update on the situation in Yemen to the council at its next session in March.
The resolution, however, disappointed rights activists, along with the UN rights chief, who believe that Yemen’s own national commission lacks impartiality and is not up to the job.
Salma Amer, the UN advocacy officer at the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, said the resolution “puts Saudi Arabia’s desire for impunity above the need to protect the people of Yemen.”
Fisher also denounced Riyadh’s “aggressive lobbying against a full international investigation,” which could enable the council to suspend Riyadh membership and block its re-election.
In a similar move last year, the Saudi regime used its position on the Human Rights Council to hinder the establishment of an independent international investigation.