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Human Rights Council must not squander opportunity to set up inquiry into war crimes in Yemen

    September 13, 2016

    As the latest session of the Human Rights Council Session opens today Amnesty International is calling on states not to support anything short of an independent, investigation into the conflict in Yemen. Last year states failed to support such a move, instead adopting a watered-down resolution spearheaded by Saudi Arabia supporting the newly established national commission as the mechanism to investigate violations. So far this commission’s working methods suggest it will struggle to either establish truth or facilitate justice.

    “Yemen has now endured 18 months of unrelenting conflict, which has caused devastating human suffering. The world must not miss the opportunity to use this UN Human Rights Council session to establish an independent international investigation into war crimes and other violations of international law by all parties to the conflict. Last year’s failures must not be repeated. The people of Yemen must not be forced to wait any longer for justice,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.  

    In his opening statement today the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also repeated his call for an international mechanism to investigate mounting evidence of violations of international law in Yemen.

    “It is crucial that member states show that the Human Rights Council is not a political tool that will bend to states’ will. States, including the USA, UK and France, which all have economic and security interests in Saudi Arabia, which is leading a military coalition in Yemen, must support an investigation capable of establishing the truth about allegations of violations by all sides to the conflict and ensuring justice for victims and their families,” said Philip Luther.

    “They must have the courage to commit publicly to supporting an international inquiry. Failing to do so would damage the credibility of the Human Rights Council and undermine the appeal from the High Commissioner. It would also send a message that the world is turning its back on the suffering of civilians in Yemen.”

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    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn // 613-744-7667, ext 236 // email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

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