Zeid had "no choice" but to repeat Yemen probe call

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Destruction in Yemen, where thousands of people have been killed in fighting between government forces and Houthi opposition fighters. Photo: OCHA.

Ongoing grave rights abuses in Yemen linked to the war have left the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with "no choice" but to repeat his call for an international probe there.

That was the message delivered to the Human Rights Council by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein's deputy, Kate Gilmore.

She told Member States meeting in Geneva that in the last two years, conflict between the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Houthi opposition forces have killed or injured nearly 13,000 civilians.

Daniel Johnson has more.

UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore told the Human Rights Council that conditions in Yemen have become "miserable, deplorable and untenable".

Latest data gathered by her office indicated nearly 5,000 civilian deaths from the conflict, most likely a very conservative estimate, she said.

Amid the destruction and suffering Kate Gilmore implied that there was little prospect of serious abuses being investigated, in light of what she called the "under-performing" Yemeni national commission for human rights.

This situation had left the High Commissioner for Human Rights with no choice but to reiterate his call for an international probe, Ms Gilmore said, adding that it could work alongside Yemen's existing commission of inquiry.

"The violations allegedly committed in the ongoing conflict are of such gravity that continued impunity cannot be accepted. In the absence of credible mechanisms for national remedy, international and independent alternatives are essential "

In her update on Yemen to the Council, Kate Gilmore told Member States that ongoing fighting in and around the port cities of Mokha and Hodeida has left thousands of people "trapped in the crossfire".

She confirmed that major damage to portside cranes had severely worsened one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in a country that imports nearly all of its food and fuel.

In reply, Yemen's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ali Mohamed Mauhsain Askar said that the human rights situation had improved, and that the government had been forced to use military force to resist insurrection by rebels.

Only days ago, he said, rebels had bombed a mosque inside a military base in central Yemen, claiming 27 lives.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’47″

 

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