The UN Human Rights Council yesterday voted in favour of extending an investigation into war crimes committed in Yemen.
This follows a group of experts on Yemen reporting earlier this month on evidence of serious violations by all sides in the conflict. They were mandated to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the allegations of abuses of human rights by the Council in December 2017.
The resolution seeking to renew the group’s investigations for a year faced opposition by anti-Houthi coalition leader Saudi Arabia who initiated a military intervention in the country in 2015.
Several other states were notable in opposing the resolution such as Saudi allies, Egypt and Bahrain. Pakistan, in agreement with arch-rival India, was among the countries who cast a negative vote.
Despite Saudi opposition, a strong vote at the UN Human Rights Council for continuing and strengthening the investigation and reporting on war crimes in Yemen. An embarrassing set of abusive allies stood with Saudi Arabia in its failed effort to block this move toward justice. pic.twitter.com/1VQe3FgktI
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) September 27, 2019
Saudi envoy to the UN in Geneva, Abdulaziz Alwasil, accused the investigators of publishing “non-credible, unfounded information which hadn’t even been verified.”
Also noteworthy were all African states on the Council who either voted “No” or abstained. Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia’s effort to block the vote ultimately failed, with 22 countries voting in favour of the extension and 12 voting against.
Pakistan and Egypt are among several recipients of financial aid from the kingdom. Earlier this year Pakistan secured investment deals worth more than $10 billion in addition to $6 billion in aid.
Last week, Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) has donated over $90 billion to over 84 countries since 1996.
According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), around 67 per cent of all reported civilian fatalities in Yemen since 2015 have been caused by Saudi-led coalition air strikes, making the alliance “the most responsible for civilian deaths”. The overall death toll of the conflict thus far exceeds 91,600.