Yemen: Grave crimes in Yemen must be urgently addressed; New report calls on UN member states to act to end human rights violations


Yemeni authorities must protect the rights of citizens, show respect for international law, and cease consent to the Saudi-led coalition’s operations in Yemen, said Mwatana for Human Rights, Columbia Law School, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) in their joint submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Yemen.

“Since the beginning of this catastrophic war in September 2014, all parties to the conflict have committed grave violations of international law against civilians,” said Radhya Almutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights. “The importance of accountability and the need to end the impunity that is fueling this conflict cannot be understated.”

The joint submission highlights the most prominent patterns of violations committed by all parties to the conflict, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture by state and non-state actors, as well as the recruitment of child soldiers, persecution of minorities, and the denial of humanitarian access. The NGOs are also critical of Yemen’s failure to protect civilians from violations committed by other states and non-state actors operating in areas under its control and to investigate alleged abuses.

“Yemen’s review gives UN member states an important opportunity to condemn the violations in Yemen – which have devastated the country – and to urge them to take measures to protect civilians, including human rights defenders, and provide a remedy for victims,” said Khalid Ibrahim, GCHR’s Executive Director.

This report will inform the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Third Periodic Review of Yemen’s human rights record. In its last review in 2014, the Government of Yemen accepted recommendations to ensure the actions of its security forces were brought into line with international law and that non-state actors were responsible for human rights abuses were investigated and prosecuted, but little has been done to implement these recommendations.  Security forces and the actions of other governments and non-state actors remain largely unaccountable for serious rights abuses. During the review of Yemen, UN Member States must ask the Yemeni government questions about attacks carried out by its forces and what safeguards it is providing to ensure that other governments’ forces active in its territories are taking measures to protect civilians.

The Universal Periodic Review of Yemen is to take place on Wednesday 23 January 2019 during the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council (21 January - 1 February 2019) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The joint submission is available here.