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Saudis Try To Obstruct UN Human Rights Investigation into Yemen War

Sept. 28, 2017 (EIRNS)—The Saudis are obstructing the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate war crimes and violations of human rights in their war in Yemen. The Associated Press reported on Sept. 26 that the Saudis have circulated a letter, known to have been received by at least two foreign governments, threatening that if they support a Dutch-Canadian resolution in the UN Human Rights Council to set up such a commission, economic retaliation will follow.

"Adopting the Netherlands/Canadian draft resolution in the Human Rights Council may negatively affect the bilateral political and economic relations with Saudi Arabia,"

the 1.5-page letter said, while also emphasizing the "importance of adopting a unified stance to face the conflict in Yemen." The Saudis, as they have been doing for the past two years, favor a Yemen commission they control, that is supposedly conducting an investigation. According to the AP report, the United States has not taken sides publicly about the competing resolutions.

Georgette Gagnon, head of field operations at the UN human rights office, said Yemen’s own human rights commission was "established by, is funded by and reports to a party to the conflict" and said it was way past time for an effective probe, Reuters reported on Sept. 13.

On Sept. 5, the UN Human Rights Council issued a report charging that human rights violations and abuses continue unabated in Yemen, along with unrelenting violations of international humanitarian law, with civilians suffering deeply from the consequences of an "entirely man-made catastrophe." According to the report, more than 60 percent of the known 5,144 civilian casualties resulted from Saudi air strikes.

"In addition to markets, hospitals, schools, residential areas, and other public and private infrastructure, the past year witnessed airstrikes against funeral gatherings and small civilian boats,"

the report says, according to a UN press release.

"The humanitarian crisis with nearly 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian aid and 7.3 million on the brink of famine is a direct result of the behaviour of parties to the conflict, including indiscriminate attacks, attacks against civilians and protected objects, sieges, blockades and restrictions on movement."