The Saudi Arabian ambassador and his Yemeni counterpart spent their time at the United Nations Human Rights Council skirting the blame for the humanitarian crisis and violence in Yemen.
In his statement to the council, Saudi ambassador Abdulaziz al-Wasil completely rejected the findings and conclusions of a recent report from a UN group of eminent experts, otherwise known as a GEE report. The GEE report accuses the US-backed Saudi-led coalition of committing multiple violations against civilians in Yemen. The in-depth report highlights several cases of airstrikes deliberately targeting places where civilians were present.
Furthermore, the Saudi ambassador said the Kingdom planned to submit a comprehensive legal response against the UNHRC “exposing the falsehoods presented in the report.”
The GEE report points out that these attacks lack a clear military objective and utilize precision-guided missiles which indicate that the bombs did, in fact, reach their intended target. Geopolitics Alert has reported the US-backed war crimes in Yemen extensively over the past few years. Recent attacks include a school bus full of children on their way to a summer camp, fish market and hospital entrance, and wedding attack that specifically targeted the bride’s tent.
The report also covers numerous instances of torture and daily sexual abuse against children, women, and men, throughout secret detention centers and other territories under US-backed Emirati control.
However, the report fails to mention anything about the nearly 250,000 deaths from the US-enforced, Saudi-imposed land, sea, and air blockade which has put 22 million of Yemen’s 29 million population on the brink of famine. The blockade has also severely limited access to lifesaving medications — pregnant women, children, the elderly, diabetics, cancer patients, and the chronically ill are most at risk.
The blockade has also triggered a cholera outbreak completely unprecedented in modern times with over one million becoming infected with this very preventable illness last year.
The Saudi ambassador also touched on the recent arrests of women activists who face the death penalty for peaceful protests. Abdulaziz al-Wasil weren’t detained for political beliefs or activities but for national security and ensured their due process.
Yemen Ambassador Spews Lies
The Yemeni ambassador (of the so-called internationally recognized government) to the UNHRC, Ali al-Majawar, also addressed the council.
Al-Majawar claimed that the absence of the Ansarullah delegation (aka. “Houthi”) “despite all possible efforts to accommodate” their transportation proved Ansarullah’s unwillingness to participate in any kind of peace process.
Peace talks between the de-facto Ansarullah government, Saudi-backed Hadi government, and other entities were scheduled to begin on Thursday, September 6 in Geneva just before the UNHRC session began.
However, the Saudi-led coalition prevented the United Nations from securing safe transport to and from Geneva for the Ansarullah delegation. The special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, reiterated that the Ansarullah did everything in their power to attend but outside forces prevented their arrival in Geneva:
I think it is important to know that Ansarullah also wanted to be here and that they are disappointed not to be here, and it is important to make that point very clear. We have had extensive discussions with their representatives in Sana’a and in Muscat this past week, and I have no doubt about that, whatever you may think. And they are very keen to take this process forward, and so is the international community who are remarkably united.”
The Yemeni ambassador went on to accuse the United Nations itself of facilitating what he called “Houthi crimes” in Yemen. This claim comes despite the fact that al-Majawar’s own government facilitates daily war crimes from the Saudi-led coalition against civilians in his own country.
Top Photo | A man inspects his home destroyed by airstrikes in Sanaa, Yemen, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. (AP/Hani Mohammed)
Randi Nord is a journalist and co-founder of Geopolitics Alert. She covers U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen. Support Randi on Patreon.
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