GENEVA (GPA) – Geopolitics Alert editor, Randi Nord, delivered an oral intervention to the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of NGOs Iraqi Development Organization and Arabian Rights Watch Association. The statement provided a rebuttal to the recent UN report from a group of eminent experts detailing Saudi violations against civilians in Yemen and demanded accountability for deaths from the blockade.
The United Nations recently released a damning report detailing violations against civilians in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition — particularly women and children. The Yemen GEE report covers crimes dating back to 2016 such as a funeral massacre killing over 100 and injuring several hundred.
It also includes recent investigations from the coalition attack on a school bus killing dozens of children which Saudi Arabia initially defended as a legitimate military action. Riyadh later walked back their defense stating, as usual, that the attack on children was a mistake. The United States provides Saudi Arabia with intelligence and logistical support for selecting airstrike targets claiming this reduces civilian casualties.
How the Yemen GEE Report Falls Short
The Yemen GEE report points out the fact that the Saudi coalition used precision-guided munitions which leads to the conclusion that the missiles reached their intended targets in several cases. In other words, the war crimes against civilians are entirely intentional.
However, the report is just that — a piece of paper — and holds no weight in terms of applying accountability.
The report includes blatant crimes that occurred over two years ago and very clearly assigns perpetrators. Yet, Yemen continues to face massacres on a daily basis.
- Why isn’t can’t anyone be held accountable?
- Why are bombs still flowing to those carrying out the crimes?
- Who will pay Yemen’s reparations and reconstruction?
Another shortcoming is that the report fails to mention anything about deaths from the devastating blockade which has effectively turned Yemen into an open-air prison. The blockade restricts all land, sea, and air imports, exports, and the flow of movement.
This has led to the largest humanitarian disaster in the world putting 22 million in a country of 29 million on the brink of famine and starvation.
The blockade has also triggered a cholera outbreak completely unprecedented in modern times infecting over 1 million and killing several thousand — pregnant women, children, the injured, and the elderly are most at risk.
To top it off, the blockade severely limits access to medical supplies (which is compounded by the coalition’s bombing of hospitals) and restricts entry of life-saving medicines. Patients suffering from cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, and other chronic diseases as well as pregnant women and the elderly are most at risk. It doesn’t help that public sector employees like medical workers have not received sufficient salaries in years.
Read more from Geopolitics Alert editor, Randi Nord, at the UNHRC demanding accountability for Yemen:
Here’s the full text of the oral intervention regarding the Yemen GEE report Randi Nord read on behalf of Iraqi Development Organization and Arabian Rights Watch Association:
ITEM #3: Promotion of all human rights
DATE: Friday, September 14, 2018
IDO, Arabian Rights Watch Association, and Insan Organization support the efforts of the Group of Eminent Experts, as well as their findings and conclusions that possible war crimes have occurred against the Yemeni people. Yet we highlight that the crimes detailed in their report are just the tip of the iceberg, especially concerning the immense humanitarian suffering caused by the blockade and other unlawful coercive measures imposed on the Yemeni people.
The blockade on food, fuel, and medical supplies, combined with airstrikes on vital civilian infrastructure, have caused mass suffering among civilians, particularly the most vulnerable: the injured, children, and elderly. According to Yemen’s Ministry of Health, corroborated by local NGOs, over 27-thousand civilians died because they could not get medical treatment abroad due to the Coalition’s ban on flights to and from Sana’a International Airport – while another 200-thousand continue to suffer awaiting a similar fate.
A child dies every ten minutes amounting to over 63-thousand child deaths in 2016 alone according to UNICEF — all due to preventable causes related to malnutrition that remained untreated due to the Coalition’s blockade. Save the Children estimates 50-thousand children died from preventable causes in 2017. But taking into account the past three and a half years, the number stands at 247-thousand children deaths. 247-thousand children deaths! While 10 million other children face starvation imposed on them as a weapon of war.
We call on the Council to take urgent action. Yemen needs accountability NOW!