Coalition: UN experts’ report on Yemen not neutral, we will respond legally
The Arab Coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen has reviewed a report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and outlined the following conclusions:
1: The Coalition has been keen to cooperate in an open and transparent manner with a group of experts since it was formed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in December 2017 and began its tasks. Two meetings were held at the Coalition’s headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the team members and specialists.
During these meetings, evidence and clarifications were provided to all the queries submitted by the group. A team visit was also organized to the Coalition Operations Center to inform them of the procedures of operations. The Coalition also facilitated the team's work in visits to Yemen and meeting its requirements, as well as providing information in a comprehensive report to the Office of the High Commissioner which includes answers to all queries submitted to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Yemen. The Coalition therefore deplores what the Panel has referred to in the report's methodology for not receiving any response on the submission of the requested information.
2: The Arab Coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen affirms its continued commitment to take all steps to ensure that civilian casualties in its military operations are prevented and that civilians and civilian objects are protected in accordance with the principles of international humanitarian law.
3: The report asserts many inaccuracies regarding false reports that the coalition is obstructing humanitarian access to civilians in Yemen. In this regard, the Alliance asserts its continued cooperation with the United Nations and other relief agencies to ensure humanitarian access to the civilian population in Yemen and to facilitate the flow of commercial goods.
The coalition is surprised by the disregard of the report for the great humanitarian role played by the coalition countries in Yemen and the huge humanitarian assistance it has provided in this regard in order to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people, most recently the generous donation from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, amounting to $1.8 bln for the United Nations organizations operating in Yemen.
4: The report was conducted with many methodological fallacies and its description of the facts of the conflict, which was characterized by lack of objectivity, especially when dealing with the parties to the conflict in Yemen and attempts to take full responsibility of the coalition countries on the conflict in Yemen, ignoring the real reasons for this conflict falls under the coup of the Houthi militias backed by Iran to the legitimate government Yemen, and its rejection of all United Nations-led peace efforts based on the three internationally recognized benchmarks of the outcomes of the national dialogue, the Gulf initiative and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolution 2216.
5: False allegations and claims in the report of the Coalition forces targeting civilians, restrictions on access to humanitarian aid, allegations of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, violations of freedom of expression, sexual violence and child recruitment. These allegations were based on misleading reports of some NGOs.
The Coalition countries has refuted these allegations and claims during meetings with the UN Panel of Experts and through the official responses provided to the panel. The group of experts has unfortunately ignored the inclusion of these responses in the report, which resulted in an impartial and imbalanced report.
6: The coalition refuses citing names of the commanders and officials from the coalition states in the report's annex.
It stresses the existence of duplication and selectivity in the standards of the panel in its review of allegations of human rights violations and that pointed toward the panel's limited access, resources and time for its tasks, and the short duration of its six-month mandate.
It also pointed to the panel’s inaccuracy of its conclusions and recommendations, in particular the question of jumping directly to identifying actors in the conflict and including specific names in the annex to the report.
7: The report claimed that there were documents and witnesses confirming violations by the coalition countries in Yemen, at a time when the team did not submit these documents to the coalition countries during the meetings held so that it could verify the allegations and take appropriate legal action against them.
Based on the fact that one of the tasks of the panel is to cooperate with and share information with stakeholders in support of efforts to strengthen accountability for human rights violations and abuses in Yemen.
8: The coalition states do not agree with most of the conclusions of the report, in particular paragraphs 106, 108 (a), (b) and 109.
9: The report ignored the continuing Iranian role in Yemen through Tehran’s support toward the Houthi militias, despite the clear evidence provided by the coalition to international mechanisms.; including those established in the report of the Panel of Experts of the Security Council Sanctions Committee established under paragraph 19 of Security Council resolution 2140 (2014).
10: Although the report referred to the launching of rockets by Iran's Houthi-backed militias into Saudi Arabia, the report omitted to mention the large number of such rocket attacks and that the Houthi militias targeted civilians, resulting in a number of casualties.