UN Panel on Yemen: Consider Creating Commission of Inquiry

The United Nations Security Council should consider creating an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged human rights abuses by all sides in Yemen’s conflict, a panel of U.N. experts says.

The Associated Press on Tuesday obtained a copy of the panel’s annual report, which has not been released publicly. The panel monitors U.N. sanctions.

The report also says civilians in the Arab world’s poorest country are suffering under tactics in the conflict that “constitute the prohibited use of starvation as a method of warfare.”

(http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/panel-yemen-creating-commission-inquiry-36530634)

Advertisements

MSF: Bombing of schools and hospitals

Three hospitals and clinics where doctors and nurses working for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were providing essential medical services to people caught up in the horrendous conflict in Yemen have come under attack in as many months. And this figure does not include attacks on MSF-supported health facilities in other conflict zones.

(http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/jan/19/yemen-msf-bombing-hospitals-schools-cannot-become-the-new-normal)

Two Guardian Articles

  1. We are waiting to see when we will die” – the words of a resident of the besieged city of Taiz in Yemen, retold by a British Yemeni at a meeting with cross-party MPs in Westminster last week.

    2. A United Nations panel investigating the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen has uncovered “widespread and systematic” attacks on civilian targets in violation of international humanitarian law, raising questions over UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the role of British military advisers.The final 51-page report by a panel of experts on Yemen, which was sent to the UN security council last week but had not yet been published, has been obtained by the Guardian.

    Human rights groups and the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn – who described the leaked report as disturbing – called for an immediate inquiry and a suspension of arms sales to Saudi pending its outcome.

    (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/27/un-report-into-saudi-led-strikes-in-yemen-raises-questions-over-uk-role)

Zeid urges Yemen to reverse decision to expel top UN human rights official

GENEVA (8 January  2016) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Friday urged the Government of Yemen to reverse its decision to declare his Representative in the country persona non grata, saying that it was “unwarranted, counter-productive and damaging to the reputation of the Government and its coalition partners.”

“I deeply regret this decision by the Government. My team on the ground has, in my view, been performing well under extremely difficult circumstances. The Government’s decision appears to be based on a number of misunderstandings, both of what my Office has been saying publicly, and of what the role of the UN is in a conflict situation. I fear it will hamper our work in the future and the statements of the Government could compromise the safety of the remaining national and international staff. ”

“Our job is not to highlight violations committed by one side and ignore those committed by the other,” the High Commissioner said. “To the best of our ability, in a very fluid and dangerous environment, we have tried to monitor and report objectively on the human rights situation in Yemen. Unfortunately, both sides have very clearly committed violations, resulting in some 2,800 civilian deaths over the past nine months. Our role is to focus on human rights and the protection of civilians, not on the politics.”

“As the Secretary-General’s spokesman said last night, respect for human rights is absolutely essential for long-term peace and stability. By impeding the United Nations’ human rights work, the Government is failing to uphold its obligations.”

On Thursday, in his public statements, Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights gave a variety of reasons for the Government’s decision, including an assertion that the UN Human Rights Office had not paid enough attention to the situation in Taizz, and that it issued press releases with “incomplete information.”

“Part of our job is to try to prevent further violations, and in order to do so, when security permits, UN human rights officials consistently and impartially engage with all sides to a conflict,” Zeid said. “It is a mistake to view this as some sort of endorsement of an opposition movement’s position at the expense of the Government. We have been operating within a mutually agreed framework.”

“I am also perplexed by the accusation that we have ignored the deplorable situation in Taizz, which has been suffering for many months from a blockade of supply routes by Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis. We have addressed the situation in Taizz in numerous public statements, including earlier this week at a press briefing in Geneva. The fact that that briefing and other public statements have also focused on casualties caused by coalition forces, including through the apparent use of cluster submunitions, is a reflection of the unfortunate realities on the ground in Yemen, not a sign of bias.”

The High Commissioner noted that the expulsion of his Representative is likely to complicate the UN Human Rights Office’s ability to implement a resolution* adopted by the Human Rights Council in September which requested it to provide technical assistance and work with the Government of Yemen in the field of capacity-building and to identify additional areas of assistance to enable Yemen to fulfil its human rights obligations. The resolution — which was supported by the Government of Yemen — also specifically requested the Office of the High Commissioner to assist a national independent commission of inquiry in carrying out its work in accordance with international obligations, and the Office is planning to deploy a specially recruited three-person Monitoring Team within the coming weeks.

“The States who make up the Human Rights Council clearly believe my Office has an essential role to play in ensuring that Yemen’s national independent commission of inquiry functions effectively and impartially,” Zeid said. “Expelling the leader of my existing team in Yemen sends a very negative message indeed, just as we embark on a process that was designed to help Yemen carry out this important inquiry, the outcome of which will be very important for the Government’s future credibility.”

ENDS

*Resolution A/HRC/RES/30/18

For more information, please contact: Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org)

– See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/Media.aspx#sthash.B644sqTe.dpuf

(جرائم قوات التحالف بقيادة السعودية على اليمن رصد غارات قوات التحالف اليومي (المركز اليمني لحقوق الإنسان:

رصد جرائم وغارات قوات التحالف ليوم الثلاثاء الموافق 5 يناير 2016م

محافظة صنعاء:

– غارة جوية دمرت مركز النور لإيواء المكفوفين بمديرية الصافية وسقوط عشرات الجرحى

– طيران قوات التحالف استهدف قاعة بيت معياد للأعراس في شارع 45 وتضرر عدد كبير من المنازل المحيطة

– طيران قوات التحالف استهدف الغرفة التجارية بحي الحصبة مديرية الثورة

– طيران قوات التحالف شن 3 غارات متفرقة على منطقة النهدين في العاصمة

محافظة صعدة:

– غارة لطيران قوات التحالف استهدف شبكة الاتصالات مديرية مجز

– طيران قوات التحالف استهدف شبكة الاتصالات في مديرية سحار

– طيران قوات التحالف شن 5 غارات على الطريق العام بين مديرية قطابر ومنطقة آل ثابت

– طيران قوات التحالف شن غارة على محطة دبيش للغاز في الضميد مديرية سحار

– ست غارات لطيران قوات التحالف على منطقة العطف وضيقة خزام شرق مديرية الحشوة

محافظة مأرب:

– طيران قوات التحالف شن 7 غارات على مناطق متفرقة في مديرية صرواح

محافظة لحج:

–  3 غارات لطيران التحالف استهدفت مزارع دواجن في منطقة الشريجة

– طيران قوات التحالف شن 4 غارات على الطريق الرئيس الرابط بين الشريجة وثبرة بمديرية القبيطة

– غارة لطيران قوات التحالف على مديرية القبيطة بمنطقة رون الحويمي

محافظة تعز:

– طيران قوات التحالف استهدف منزلاً في مديرية صالة

 

– طيران قوات التحالف استهدف بغارتين منزلاً في مديرية حيفان

محافظة الضالع:

– جريحان في غارة استهدفت مديرية دمت

محافظة البيضاء:

– طيران غارات قوات التحالف شن غارتين على منطقة مكيراس

محافظة الجوف:

– طيران غارات قوات التحالف شن غارة على مديرية الغيل

محافظة الحديدة:

– التحالف استهدف مصنع درهم للمشروبات الغازية في منطقة المراوعة بعدد من الغارات

 

رصد جرائم وغارات قوات التحالف ليوم الأربعاء الموافق 6 يناير 2016م

 

محافظة صنعاء:

– طيران قوات التحالف عاود استهداف منطقة النهدين

– 13 غارة لطيران قوات التحالف على أحياء متفرقة في العاصمة صنعاء منذ الصباح وسقوط جرحى ووقع أضرار مادية

– الغارات توزعت على أحياء ملعب الثورة ومطار صنعاء و النهدين و تبة التلفزيون و منطقة الحيارة و بني الحارث

– طيران قوات التحالف استهدف شاحنة أسطوانة غاز خلف ملعب الثورة الرياضي

– 6 غارات لطيران قوات التحالف على مطار صنعاء الدولي ومنطقة النهدين

– غارتان لطيران التحالف على مخازن الرماح والتلفزيون

– طيران التحالف ألقى قنابل عنقودية على الأحياء السكنية وسط العاصمة صنعاء

 

– استشهاد أحد المواطنين بشظايا قنبلة عنقودية أسقطها طيران التحالف في منطقة مذبح

– طيران التحالف شن أكثر من 10 غارات جوية على منطقة النهدين جنوب العاصمة

– سلسلة غارات لطيران التحالف على مناطق متعددة من مديرية بني حشيش

– طيران قوات التحالف شن غارتين على منطقة زجان والحرة ببني جرموز بمديرية بني الحارث

– غارة لطيران التحالف على نقيل نهم

محافظة الحديدة:

– طيران التحالف استهدف مخازن شركة الشهبين للمواد الغذائية ومصنع درهم للمشروبات الغازية

– طيران التحالف استهدف مخزناً للأغذية ومصنعاً للبلاستيك في منطقة كيلو 7

محافظة صعدة:

– أربع غارات لطيران التحالف استهدفت منطقة هجرة فلة بمديرية مجز

– غارة لطيران التحالف على منطقة الخزائن بمديرية سحار

– 5 غارات لطيران التحالف على منطقة مرع بمديرية باقم بالتزامن مع قصف صاروخي على أنحاء متفرقة من المديرية

– إصابة مواطن بجروح جراء قصف صاروخي استهدف مناطق متفرقة من مديرية رازح

– قصف صاروخي على مديرية شداء

– غارة لطيران التحالف على منطقة بركان بمديرية رازح

محافظة تعز:

– غارة لطيران التحالف على منطقة الجحملية

– غارة لطائرة أمريكية من دون طيار استهدف ميناء المخاء

– غارة لطيران التحالف على منطقة حسنات في صالة

محافظة الجوف:

– غارة لطائرة أمريكية بدون طيار استهدفت مديرية الغيل

 

محافظة مأرب:

– طيران التحالف شن غارة على جبل هيلان

– ثلاث غارات لطيران التحالف على منطقة الجر بمديرية عبس

 

رصد جرائم قوات التحالف ليوم الخميس 7 يناير 2016م

محافظة صنعاء:

– سلسلة غارات لطيران التحالف على مناطق متعددة من مديرية بني حشيش

– غارة لطيران التحالف على منطقة جربان عمد بمديرية سنحان

– غارتان لطيران التحالف على تبة الأمن السياسي ومديرية السبعين

– طيران التحالف شن غارتين على منصة الاحتفالات في ميدان السبعين

– طيران التحالف شن غارتين على تبة التلفزيون شمال العاصمة

محافظة صعدة:

– طيران التحالف عاود استهداف شبكة الاتصالات في مديرية سحار

– غارتان لطيران التحالف على الطريق الرابط بين مديريتي الظاهر وحيدان

محافظة الحديدة:

– ثلاث غارات لطيران التحالف على مديرية برع

محافظة تعز:

– غارة لطيران التحالف استهدفت المدارس العمري

– طيران التحالف شن غارات على المجمع الحكومي في المخا

– غارة لطيران التحالف على محل للمشتقات النفطية في مدينة المخا

– طيران التحالف شن غارة على مديرية الصلو

محافظة مأرب:

 

– طيران التحالف شن غارات على مناطق متفرقة من مديرية صرواح

محافظة الجوف:

– غارة لطيران التحالف على مديرية الغيل

محافظة لحج:

– غارة لطيران التحالف على جبل المرخام بين منطقتي السحي والشريجة

– طيران التحالف شن غارتين على نفق في الشريجة وغارة على جبل المرخام بين منطقتي السحي والشريجة

 

رصد جرائم وغارات قوات التحالف ليوم السبت 9 يناير 2016م

محافظة صنعاء:

– طيران التحالف شن غارات على منطقة يحيص بأرحب

– غارات لطيران التحالف على تبة ذهبان شمال العاصمة

– غارات لطيران التحالف على منطقة النهدين

– غارتان لطيران التحالف على نقيل مديرية نهم

محافظة تعز:

– غارتان لطيران التحالف على المدينة

– طيران التحالف شن غارة على منطقة أومان بمديرية التعزية

محافظة صعدة:

– ثلاث غارات لطيران التحالف استهدفت منطقة مرع بمديرية باقم

– قصف صاروخي على منازل المواطنين في مديريتي رازح ومنبه

– ثلاث غارات لطيران التحالف استهدفت منازل المواطنين في منطقة بني القم بمديرية رازح

– ثلاث غارات لطيران التحالف على منطقة مذاب بمديرية الصفراء

 

محافظة إب:

– طيران التحالف شن غارتين على منتجع بن لادن السياحي

https://www.facebook.com/YCFHR/posts/10153743529789627
https://twitter.com/ycfhr/status/686130481243525121

Saudi arms sales are in breach of international law, Britain is told

The government has been put on notice that it is in breach of international law for allowing the export of British-made missiles and military equipment to Saudi Arabia that might have been used to kill civilians.

The hugely embarrassing accusation comes after human rights groups, the European parliament and the UN all expressed concerns about Saudi-led coalition attacks in Yemen. Lawyers acting for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade(CAAT) have stepped up legal proceedings against the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which approves export licences, accusing it of failing in its legal duty to take steps to prevent and suppress violations of international humanitarian law.

In a 19-page legal letter seen by the Observer, CAAT warns that the government’s refusal to suspend current licences to Saudi Arabia, and its decision “to continue the granting of new licences” for military equipment that may be destined for use in Yemen, is unlawful. The letter cites article two of the EU Council Common Position on arms sales, which would compel the UK to deny an export licence if there was “a clear risk” that equipment might be used in a violation of international humanitarian law.

Lawyers for CAAT have given the government 14 days to suspend licences allowing the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, pending the outcome of a review of its obligations under EU law and its own licensing criteria. A failure to comply would see proceedings against the government, which would force it to explain in the high court what steps it has taken to ensure that UK military hardware is not being used in breach of international law.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/09/saudi-arms-sales-lawyers-warn-break-international-law-yemen

British military allegedly helping Saudi Arabia target locations in Yemen

Military experts from Britain are allegedly working with Saudi Arabia’s military operation in Yemen by helping select locations for attacking rebels.

The claim that six experts were helping Saudi Arabia with targeting was made by Sky News. But the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said personnel from the UK were only “offering Saudi Arabia advice and training on best practice targeting techniques”.

A coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia has been supporting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi by targeting the Houthi forces, an ally of Iran in Yemen, since March 2015.

Thousands of people have died in the conflict, many of whom are civilians

Commenting on the claims made by Sky News, a spokesperson from the MoD said: “UK military personnel are not directly involved in Saudi-led Coalition operations, we are offering Saudi Arabia advice and training on best practice targeting techniques to help ensure continued compliance with International Humanitarian Law.”

“We support Saudi forces through longstanding, pre-existing arrangements and will consider any new requests.”

David Mepham, director of Human Rights Watch UK, told Sky News that the group condemned Britain’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen. The group has previously produced reports in which it states the actions of the coalition could amount to war crimes.

“Human Rights Watch has put out numerous reports about what the Saudis are up to in Yemen.”

He said it was “deeply regrettable and unacceptable” that Britain was “working hand in glove with the Saudis”.

Britain has come under fire for selling arms to Saudi Arabia. And was recently announced that the Government had licensed £5.6 billion in the sales of arms and fighter jets.

A spokesperson from the Government said: “UK military personnel are not directly involved in Coalition operations, but are supporting Saudi forces through pre-existing arrangements and additional liaison officers in Saudi headquarters.”

“We operate one of the most rigorous and transparent arms export control regimes in the world with each licence application assessed on a case by case basis, taking account of all relevant information, to ensure compliance with our legal obligations. No licence is issued if it does not meet these requirements.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/british-military-allegedly-helping-saudi-arabia-target-locations-in-yemen-a6801616.html

Coalition Drops Cluster Bombs in Capital

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces airdropped cluster bombs on residential neighborhoods in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, early on January 6, 2016. It is not yet clear whether the attacks caused civilian casualties, but the inherently indiscriminate nature of cluster munitions makes such attacks serious violations of the laws of war. The deliberate or reckless use of cluster munitions in populated areas amounts to a war crime.

Markings on a remnant of a CBU-58 cluster bomb found near  al-Zira`a Street in Sanaa on January 6, 2016 indicating that it was manufactured in 1978 at the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in the US state of Tennessee.

Markings on a remnant of a CBU-58 cluster bomb found near  al-Zira`a Street in Sanaa on January 6, 2016 indicating that it was manufactured in 1978 at the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in the US state of Tennessee.

“The coalition’s repeated use of cluster bombs in the middle of a crowded city suggests an intent to harm civilians, which is a war crime,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch. “These outrageous attacks show that the coalition seems less concerned than ever about sparing civilians from war’s horrors.”

Residents of two Sanaa neighborhoods described aerial attacks consistent with cluster bomb use. A resident of al-Zira`a Street told Human Rights Watch that his family was awakened at 5:30 a.m. on January 6 by dozens of small explosions. He said that he had been at work, but that his wife told him that when the family fled they saw many homes and a local kindergarten with newly pockmarked walls and broken windows.

The coalition’s repeated use of cluster bombs in the middle of a crowded city suggests an intent to harm civilians, which is a war crime. These outrageous attacks show that the coalition seems less concerned than ever about sparing civilians from war’s horrors.

Steve Goose, arms director.

A resident of Hayal Sayeed, another residential neighborhood, described hearing small explosions at around 6 a.m. He went out on the street, he said, and saw more than 20 vehicles covered in pockmarks, including his own, as well as dozens of pockmarks in the road. He said that at least three houses in the area had pockmarked walls and broken windows. He found a fragment in his car, he said.

The al-Zira`a Street resident said that neither neighborhood had been hit by airstrikes before January 6. The nearest military installations, a small office, and a garage used by military guards, were about 600 to 800 meters from the al-Zira`a Street neighborhood. Even if the attacks were directed at the military targets, the use of cluster munitions meant they were still unlawful, Human Rights Watch said.

The al-Zira`a Street resident said that at the time of the attack he had been at his office, about 2 or 3 kilometers from Hayal Sayeed and 5 kilometers from al-Zira`a Street. Every 10 to 15 minutes he heard small explosions, until about 1:30 p.m. “These did not sound like regular gunfire,” he said. “I asked my colleagues if they could hear them too – they said yes.”

A third cluster bomb attack on January 6 was reported on social media by residents of Sanaa’s al-Thiaba neighborhood, although Human Rights Watch could not confirm this.

Human Rights Watch viewed photographs taken on January 6 in Sanaa that showed unmistakable remnants of cluster munitions, including unexploded submunitions, spherical fragmentation liners from submunitions that broke apart on impact, and parts of the bomb that carried the payload.

Human Rights Watch identified the munitions as from US-made BLU-63 antipersonnel/anti-materiel submunitions and components of a CBU-58 cluster bomb. Markings on the bomb remnants indicate that it was manufactured in 1978 at the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in the state of Tennessee in the United States.

Each air-dropped CBU-58 cluster bomb contains 650 submunitions. The United States transferred 1,000 CBU-58 bombs to Saudi Arabia sometime between 1970 and 1995, according to US export records obtained by Human Rights Watch. The US is a party to the armed conflict in Yemen, playing a direct role in coordinating military operations, and as such, is obligated to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war in which its forces took part.

The CBU-58 cluster bomb and BLU-63 submunition were developed by the US during the Vietnam War and are designed to attack personnel and lightly protected materiel. The submunitions also contain 5-gram titanium pellets that produce an incendiary effect on flammable targets.

In 2015, Human Rights Watch documented the use by coalition forces of three types of cluster munitions in Yemen. Amnesty International documented the coalition’s use of a fourth type. A fifth type of cluster munition has been used, but the user’s identity is unclear. A US Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity,  told U.S. News and World Report in August that “the U.S. is aware that Saudi Arabia has used cluster munitions in Yemen.”

BLU-63 submunitions that broke apart on impact after being dispersed by CBU-58 cluster bombs in the Hayal Sayeed neighborhood of Sanaa on January 6, 2016.

BLU-63 submunitions that broke apart on impact after being dispersed by CBU-58 cluster bombs in the Hayal Sayeed neighborhood of Sanaa on January 6, 2016.

Neither Yemen, Saudi Arabia, nor any of the other coalition countries are party to the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, the international treaty banning cluster munitions. A total of 118 countries have signed and 98 have ratified the treaty. Human Rights Watch is a co-founder of the Cluster Munition Coalition and serves as its chair.

On November 17, the US Defense Department announced that the State Department had approved a sale of US$1.29 billion worth of air-to-ground munitions, such as laser-guided bombs and “general purpose” bombs with guidance systems – none of which are cluster munitions. The US should not sell aerial bombs to Saudi Arabia in the absence of serious investigations into alleged laws-of-war violations in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said.

The UN Human Rights Council should create an independent, international inquiry into alleged violations of the laws of war by all sides.

“It may have been 20 years since the US last provided these cluster munitions to the Saudis, but they are being used to kill civilians now,” Goose said. “The US, as a party to the conflict, should be demanding that the coalition immediately stop using these weapons or risk becoming complicit in their use.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/01/07/yemen-coalition-drops-cluster-bombs-capital-0

Saudi Arabia Bombs rehabilitation centre for the blind

“Every day is getting worse,” Rajaa Mosaabi, the chairwoman of the Arab Human Rights Foundation, based in Sanaa, told me by phone this morning about the deteriorating situation in Yemen. “Today alone I heard 20 to 25 bombs explode all around my home.”

The situation is difficult for everyone. But if you have a disability, it’s particularly bad.

According to the United Nations human rights office, an estimated three million people with disabilities live in Yemen. Many of them are at particular risk because they can’t flee to safety or access even basic services.

Because of the limited fuel, lack of electricity and rubble-covered streets, people with disabilities – particularly those in wheelchairs – cannot readily move about and have become virtually imprisoned in their homes.

With dozens of hospitals damaged, or closed, or unable to get supplies since the Saudi-led coalition began its aerial bombing campaign on March 26, people with disabilities  cannotaccess much-needed health care and medicines. More than 300 organizations that provided specialized services for people with disabilities have had to close, many with their facilities in shambles. In many hospitals across Yemen that remain functioning, people with pre-existing disabilities are reportedly being denied access to medicines they require because of the urgent need to treat people injured in the conflict.

Schools and hostels for children with disabilities, including a school and girls’ hostel run by al-Aman Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of the Blind, were among buildings destroyed in coalition airstrikes on April 20. Some girls were injured. “They are in a really bad situation,” she said, adding that they need counseling for trauma. We spoke briefly by cell phone, Mosaabi’s main communication link since she can’t send emails because of electricity outages.

Mosaabi, who has a physical disability, was injured during attacks on April 20:  “Everywhere on my body was bleeding – my ears, my leg. I couldn’t see or hear for five days. I stayed in the hospital for 14 days. I was fortunate to survive.”

With a five-day ceasefire due to begin tomorrow, humanitarian assistance – including food, fuel and medical care – urgently needs to reach people with disabilities. This will require outreach to disability advocates and organizations of people with disabilities to help identify and assist this at-risk population. Millions of people are counting on it.