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Urgente necesidad de una investigación internacional sobre Yemen

Joint NGO letter to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the United Nations Human Rights Council


We, theundersigned nongovernmental organizations, urge you to support the creationof an independent international investigationinto violations and abuses of international human rights law and internationalhumanitarian law in Yemen since the start of the current conflict. This is a call thathas been made since 2015 by national, regional, andinternational civil society organizations, the United Nations High Commissioner forHuman Rights, and the Security Council Panel of Experts on Yemen. The number ofabuses, and the need for credible international investigations, has onlyincreased since 2015.

Yemen is now enduring the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, withat least seven millionpeople on the brink of famine andhundredsof thousands suffering from cholera. This crisisis manmade, with the war deepening and exacerbating the humanitarian situationin the Middle East’s poorest country, and both sides impeding thedelivery of humanitarianaid. As the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said at theend of his visit to Yemen in July 2017, “Unlessthe warring parties improve their respect of the laws of war, I am afraid wemust expect more epidemics in the future.”

Since March 2015, at least 5,110 civilians have been killed and atleast 8,719 wounded in the armed conflict, according tothe Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Serious violations of internationalhumanitarian law and violations and abuses of international human rights law byparties to the conflict have continued to be committed with impunity. The SaudiArabia-led coalition has conducted scores of unlawful airstrikes, some of whichmay amount to war crimes, that have killed thousands of civilians andhit schools, hospitals, markets, and homes. The Houthi armed group and forces loyal toformer president Ali Abdullah Saleh have fired weapons indiscriminately intopopulated areas in Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia and used explosive weaponswith wide-scale effects in cities such as Taizz and Aden, killing and maiming scores in attacks that may amount to war crimes.

Both sides haveharassed, arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared Yemeni activists, humanrights defendersand journalists, shrinking the space for civil society groups andthe media to operate throughout the country. The number of the “missing” isalso growing: Houthi-Saleh forces, forces affiliated with the Yemeni governmentof President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the United Arab Emirates and UAE-backed Yemeniforces have arbitrarilydetained or forcibly disappeared hundreds, denying family members access totheir loved ones or even information on the fate of those detained.

Parties to theconflict are recruiting and deploying child soldiers. Both sides haveused widely banned weapons that can endanger civilians long after a conflictends. The Saudi-led coalition has used at least seven types of cluster munitions, and the Houthi-Saleh side has laid antipersonnel landmines in a number of Yemeni governorates.

In September 2015,the Human Rights Council called on the Yemeni government, with support from theOHCHR, “to ensure the effective investigation, with a view to ending impunity,into all cases of violations and abuse of human rights and of violations ofinternational humanitarian law.” In September 2016, the Council strengthenedthe mandate of the OHCHR, requesting the High Commissioner “toallocate additional international human rights experts to the Office of theHigh Commissioner in Yemen to complement the investigatory work of the nationalcommission, while collecting and preserving information to establish the factsand circumstances of alleged violations and abuses.”

While the 2016 resolution sought to strengthen the OHCHR presence inYemen, this has been difficult in practice. The Houthi-Saleh side has publicly refused to cooperate with theYemeni national commission or OHCHR in its capacity implementing the resolution.In March 2017, the Deputy High Commissioner expressed concerns about the NationalCommission, noting it has failed “tocomply with internationally recognized standards of methodology andimpartiality,” and has “yet to clarify how its work could facilitate viablemechanisms of accountability.” The Saudi-ledcoalition’s investigative mechanism (JIAT) has also failed to conduct credibleinvestigations into alleged violations and abuses. The coalition has calledinto question its purported commitment to accountability with continued blanketdenials of violations and abuses documented by a number of credible sources. Last year, Saudi Arabia threatened to withdraw fundingfrom critical UN programs if the Secretary-General did not remove the coalitionfrom his annual “list of shame” for violations against children.

For two years, the High Commissioner has called forand continues to call for anindependent international investigation.

The victims of abusesin Yemen cannot afford to wait longer for credible investigations into ongoinggrave violations and abuses to be undertaken. We therefore call on the HumanRights Council to establish, during its thirty-sixth session, an independent internationalinquiry to investigate alleged violations and abuses of international humanrights law and violations of international humanitarian law committed by allparties to the conflict in Yemen. The inquiry should be given the mandate toestablish the facts and circumstances, and to collect and preserve evidenceof, and clarify responsibility for, alleged violations and abuses of internationalhuman rights law and violations of international humanitarian law, with a view to ending impunity and providingaccountability.

We urge you tosupport the creation of such an inquiry by the Council during upcoming session.

Please accept,Excellency, the assurances of our highest consideration,

1. ALQST Advocating for Human Rights inSaudi Arabia

2. Americans for Democracy & HumanRights in Bahrain (ADHRB)

3. Amnesty International

4. Arab Programfor Human Rights Activists

5. ArabicFederation for Democracy, Palestine

6. Arabic Network for Human RightsInformation (ANHRI)

7. Association for Human Rights inEthiopia (AHRE)

8. Avaaz

9. Bahrain Institute for Rights andDemocracy (BIRD)

10. CairoInstitute for Human Rights Studies


12. Conectas,Brazil

13. ControlArms

14. CorporaciónHumanas

15. DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)

16. Dove Tales

17. EnglishPEN

18. European-SaudiOrganisation for Human Rights (ESOHR)

19. FriendsCommittee on National Legislation, US

20. GlobalCentre for the Responsibility to Protect

21. GulfCentre for Human Rights

22. HumanRights and Democracy Media Centers (SHAMS)

23. Human Rights Defenders Network, Sierra Leone

24. HumanRights Law Centre, Australia

25. HumanRights Watch

26. InterAfricaGroup

27. InternationalFederation for Human Rights (FIDH)

28. InternationalPlatform against Impunity

29. InternationalService for Human Rights (ISHR)


31. MaribDam Foundation for Social Development, Yemen

32. Medecinsdu Monde

33. MigrantForum in Asia

34. MwatanaOrganisation for Human Rights, Yemen

35. NGOWorking Group on Women, Peace and Security

36. PanAfrican Human Rights Defenders Network

37. Partnershipfor Justice, Nigeria

38. PAX

39. PENInternational

40. Physiciansfor Human Rights

41. Reprieve

42. Saferworld

43. Societyfor Threatened Peoples, Germany

44. WinWithout War, US

45. WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT)

46. YemenPeace Project, US

47. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

48. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

49. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

50. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

51. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

52. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

53. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

54. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

55. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

56. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

57. [Namewithheld], Yemen*

*Elevenother Yemeni organizations endorsed the letter, but asked for the names oftheir organizations to be withheld from the public list due to fears ofretaliation. Their names are on file with Human Rights Watch.

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