GENEVA / YEMEN REPORT

03-Sep-2019 00:03:29
The people of Yemen have been subject to “numerous” possible war crimes in recent years including forced recruitment of children and sexual abuse in detention, UN-appointed senior rights experts said today, in an appeal to the international community to do more to end the conflict. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / YEMEN REPORT
TRT: 3:29
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 3 SEPTEMBER 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, UN Geneva flag alley
2. Wide shot, press room, journalists (seated), podium
3. Med shot, journalists in foreground, podium to rear
4. SOUNDBITE (French) Kamel Jenoubi, Chair of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen:
“The parties to the conflict in Yemen – all the parties – are responsible for numerous violations of human rights, of international law and humanitarian law. Some of these violations may constitute war crimes.”
5. Med shot, journalists in foreground looking at laptops, podium to rear
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Melissa Parke, International Expert:
“The Group of Experts have recommended that Third States prohibit the authorization of arms transfers and refrain from providing arms to parties to the conflict. This is because of the prevailing risk that such arms will be used by parties to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”
7. Close up, multitude of laptop screens, journalists writing.
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Charles Garraway, International Expert:
“There are certain States who are well known to be supplying weapons; that includes the United States, that includes the United Kingdom and it includes France, to name but three. On the other side, it is reported that Iran may be supplying weapons to the Houthis.”
9. Close up, blue felt-tip pen, Press statement
10. SOUNDBITE (French) Kamel Jenoubi, Chair of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen:
“The missiles, the airstrikes, the snipers, that hit people going about their daily business, often without warning and in places where there’s no active conflict. It gives the impression that there’s nowhere in Yemen that you can call safe, or where you can hide.”
11. Med shot, journalist writing on laptop, looks up
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Melissa Parke, International Expert:
“We’ve had incidents this year where the Coalition has struck an MSF cholera treatment centre just prior to it opening for business, so taking that out of action for the year. And we’ve had both sides of the parties to the conflict actively impeding the delivery of cholera vaccines to the population of Yemen.”
13. Close up, journalist looking down in foreground, profile, others behind
14. SOUNDBITE (French) Kamel Jenoubi, Chair of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen:
“The parties – all the parties – actively recruit children, including by force. The parties to the conflict harass and threaten rights activists, journalists, human rights defenders, humanitarian workers, they impose restrictions on their work, that often cut off services provided to people in need.”
15.Med shot, reporters
16. SOUNDBITE (French) Kamel Jenoubi, Chair of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen:
“Blockade and siege-like tactics, attacks on targets essential to the survival of the population and restrictions on the provision of food aid deprive the population of food, water and medicine at a time of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with more than 24 million people, about 80 per cent of the population, depending on humanitarian aid to survive.”
17. Various shots, reporters
STORYLINE
The people of Yemen have been subject to “numerous” possible war crimes in recent years including forced recruitment of children and sexual abuse in detention, UN-appointed senior rights experts said today, in an appeal to the international community to do more to end the conflict.

At the launch of its second report into alleged violations committed in the Arabian Peninsula State, where the internationally recognized Government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi is fighting Houthi opposition forces, the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen insisted that there had been “a pervasive lack of accountability.”

Both sides were responsible, the experts insisted, and assessments that many thousands of people had been killed “are likely to be a gross underestimate”, expert Charles Garraway insisted.

Panel chair Kamel Jenoubi told reporters, “the parties to the conflict in Yemen – all the parties – are responsible for numerous violations of human rights, of international law and humanitarian law,” adding that “some of these violations may constitute war crimes.”

Describing what kind of daily terrors Yemenis had to face, Jenoubi noted that there was nowhere safe to hide in the war-torn country – a deliberate tactic by the warring sides.

He said, “the missiles, the airstrikes, the snipers, that hit people going about their daily business, often without warning and in places where there’s no active conflict,” adding that “it gives the impression that there’s nowhere in Yemen that you can call safe, or where you can hide.”

Another war tactic outlined in the report is the targeting of health centres and services, which has had a devastating impact on a population verging on famine and brought low by some 460,000 cases of suspected cholera in the first half of the year alone.

Melissa Parke said, “we’ve had incidents this year where the Coalition has struck an MSF cholera treatment centre just prior to it opening for business, so taking that out of action for the year. And we’ve had both sides of the parties to the conflict actively impeding the delivery of cholera vaccines to the population of Yemen.”

The panel, which was established in 2017 following a request by the Human Rights Council to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also found further testimonies of other worrying practices by those fighting, including the forced recruitment of children.

Jenoubi said, “the parties – all the parties – actively recruit children, including by force.” He added, “the parties to the conflict harass and threaten rights activists, journalists, human rights defenders, humanitarian workers, they impose restrictions on their work, that often cut off services provided to people in need.”

Turning to the belligerents’ decision to prevent Yemenis from importing much of the fuel, food and medicines they have needed in the past through key Red Sea ports like Hudaydah, Jenoubi likened the tactic to a siege and “attacks against things that are essential to the population’s survival.”

He said, “blockade and siege-like tactics, attacks on targets essential to the survival of the population and restrictions on the provision of food aid deprive the population of food, water and medicine at a time of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with more than 24 million people, about 80 per cent of the population, depending on humanitarian aid to survive.”

Highlighting the active involvement of other countries including a Saudi-led Coalition which has supported Yemeni Government forces since March 2014, the group of experts urged others States to stop selling arms that could be used in conflict.

Melissa Parke also told reporters that “the Group of Experts have recommended that Third States prohibit the authorization of arms transfers and refrain from providing arms to parties to the conflict,”

She continued, “this is because of the prevailing risk that such arms will be used by parties to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

Responding to a question about which countries were involved in selling arms to Yemen’s belligerents, Charles Garraway replied that “certain States” were “well known to be supplying weapons; that includes the United States, that includes the United Kingdom and it includes France, to name but three. On the other side, it is reported that Iran may be supplying weapons to the Houthis.”

The expert report is due to be presented to the Human Rights Council later this month.
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