(22 September 2015)- We, the signatories named below, are a group of human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa. We firmly believe in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International human rights conventions, we seek through this framework to disseminate, promote and defend the values, principles and standards of human rights in the Middle East and North Africa and all countries of the world.
We express our utmost concern over a draft resolution, dated September 19, which the Arab Group at the United Nations Council for Human Rights presented for consideration regarding “Technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights”. The said draft resolution is at best one-sided and completely avoids calls to establish an international and neutral fact-finding commission to investigate thoroughly all allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed by all parties to the conflict since September 2014 in Yemen.
Alleged violations and serious crimes include those committed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, including the impact of air and sea blockade imposed by the coalition; Ansar Allah militia’s violations of both laws in addition to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces alleged crimes of war during military campaign against different Yemeni cities; alleged crimes committed by the anti Ansar Allah “Popular Pesistance” militia; and all allegations of child recruitment and forced participation in armed conflict.
Human Rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa renew their call upon the Human Rights Council to immediately adopt an international mechanism to investigate human rights violations committed in Yemen by all parties to the conflict. This mechanism should be conducted in a manner that provides documentation of facts, collect and preserve information relating to alleged violations, and establish the identity of those responsible for committing them in order to ensure bringing them to justice in internationally recognized fair trials.
We also call on the Council to adopt a draft resolution presented by the Netherlands that includes an explicit call to establish a mechanism for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes and serious violations committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen. We call on the Council to reject the one-sided draft resolution presented by the Arab Group as it significantly undermines international duty to investigate serious human rights violations and disregards the need for an international accountability for perpetrators of crimes.
Please see earlier statement by the MENA Rights Defenders Group on September 14, 2015, in which it called for an international inquiry into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the current conflict in Yemen.
Please refer to original statement in Arabic for names of signatories