UN: Yemen A Pandemic of Impunity in a Tortured Land

Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen has released its third report, titled ‘Yemen: A Pandemic of Impunity in a Tortured Land’ on the situation of human rights in Yemen, covering the period from July 2019 to June 2020, the official version of which will be presented to the Human Rights Council in its 45th session, on 29 September 2020.

The Group of Experts stressed that there are no clean hands in this conflict. The responsibility for violations rests with all parties to the conflict. In its findings, the report concluded that violations have been committed by Hadi Government of Yemen, the Southern Transitional Council, as well as members of the Coalition, which is led by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

In its report, the Group of Experts has established that all parties to the conflict have continued to commit a range of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, noting a consistent pattern of harm to civilians that not only occurs in the context of hostilities, but also away from the front lines.

The verified human rights violations include arbitrary deprivation of life, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, gender-based violence, including sexual violence, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the recruitment and use in hostilities of children, the denial of fair trial rights, violations of fundamental freedoms, and economic, social and cultural rights.

The Group of Experts has concluded that some of the airstrikes conducted by the Coalition appear to have been undertaken without proper regard to principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution to protect civilians and civilian objects.

Moreover, the Group of Experts concluded that parties were responsible for other violations of international humanitarian law, in particular the murder of civilians, torture, cruel or inhuman treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, outrages upon personal dignity, denial of fair trial, and enlisting children under the age of 15 or using them to participate actively in hostilities, that may amount to war crimes.

Besides this report, the Group of Experts will also release a Conference Room Paper, which is a longer and more detailed document, detailing its investigations and findings. The report investigated a number of incidents during the period covered, and also took a longer temporal scope, going back to as early as the beginning of the conflict in 2014, when deemed necessary for investigations and establishing facts for some categories of the investigated violations.