Saudi-led coalition criticizes UN Yemen rights mission

The Arab coalition has earlier refuted the UN report on Yemen that made a series of accusations against the alliance. (AFP)
Updated 28 September 2018

Saudi-led coalition criticizes UN Yemen rights mission

  • UN Human Rights Council votes in favor of a resolution that renewed the mission in Yemen for a year.
  • Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki criticized the “inaccuracy of the information in the report.”

LONDON: A UN human rights mission to Yemen had its madate extended on Friday despite criticism from the internationally recognized government and the Arab military coalition that it is biased and relies on inaccurate information.

The coalition battling alongside the government against the Houthi militia said any extension should be decided by the Yemeni administration.

That government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on Thursday it was ending cooperation with the UN investigation into suspected war crimes during more than three years of conflict, AFP reported.
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted 21 to 8, with 18 abstentions, in favor of a resolution that renewed the investigation for a year.
A report released last month by the investigation was stronly critisized by the Yemen government and the coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Yemeni government said ahead of the vote that it rejected an extension of the mission’s mandate based on the report, which contained a number of inaccuracies.

Human Rights Minister Mohammed Askar said Yemen's own national commission of inquiry had already been successful and "enables us to dispense with any international agencies."

“I believe we tried to show goodwill and gave the experts facilities, but the result was a disappointing report,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat, the sister paper of Arab News.

One of the errors that the report included is that “it named Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi as leader of the revolution even though he is the biggest criminal in Yemen”, Askar said. "We rejected the extension to show that the report is biased."

The Saudi-led coalition also took strong issue with the Aug. 28 report by the panel, which accused both government forces and Houthi militia of violations but said that coalition air strikes had caused “most of the documented civilian casualties” and voiced “serious concerns about the targeting process.”

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki criticized the “inaccuracy of the information in the report, which was derived from non-governmental organizations and the testimonies of some persons whose circumstances are unknown.”

The report “failed to mention Iran’s role in Yemen, and the countless violations perpetrated by the Houthis, both against the Yemeni people and against the kingdom” of Saudi Arabia, Col Al-Maliki said.

“These violations include targeting the Kingdom using Iranian ballistic missiles — aimed at civilian and religious sites,” he added.

The Houthis have fired more than 200 missiles at Saudi Arabia since it intervened in Yemen in March 2015 when the government was forced  into exile as they closed in on his last stronghold. Saudi The coalition accuses Iran of smuggling the missiles through the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida, the entry point for UN aid for millions of civilians.

The UN Human Rights Council, which appointed the panel of experts to investigate human rights violations a year ago.


UN envoy warns of ‘long and bloody war’ in Libya

Updated 9 min 38 sec ago

UN envoy warns of ‘long and bloody war’ in Libya

UNITED NATIONS: The UN envoy for Libya warned Tuesday the battle for Tripoli was “just the start of a long and bloody war” and called for immediate steps to cut off arms flows fueling the fighting.
Addressing the Security Council, Ghassan Salame said many countries were supplying weapons to the UN-recognized government in Tripoli and forces led by Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar launched an offensive on April 4 to seize the capital but his forces have been bogged down in the southern outskirts of Tripoli.
“The violence on the outskirts of Tripoli is just the start of a long and bloody war on the southern shores of the Mediterranean, imperilling the security of Libya’s immediate neighbors and the wider Mediterranean region,” Salame said.
Without immediate action to stop the flow of arms, “Libya will descend into civil war which could potentially lead to a Hobbesian all-against-all state of chaos or partition of the country,” he said.
Salame also said that Daesh has begun to reappear in Libya, and have set up flags in the south of the country.
The Security Council failed last month to agree on a draft resolution demanding a cease-fire in Libya and a return to political talks to end the conflict.
Russia refused to include any mention of Haftar’s offensive on Tripoli while the United States said it needed more time to consider the situation, diplomats said.
The envoy urged the council to set up a commission of inquiry to “determine who has taken up arms” and prevent indicted war crimes suspects from taking part in military operations.
More than 75,000 people have been driven from their homes in the latest fighting and 510 have been killed, according to the World Health Organization.