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Is it the end for the international experts’ team in Yemen?

Aishah al-Murri

Published: Updated:

For the first time since its establishment in 2008, the Human Rights Council (HRC) has rejected a draft resolution to extend the mandate of experts to investigate human rights violations in Yemen, as 21 out of 47 countries that constitute the HRC have rejected a draft resolution to “prolong the delegation of international and regional experts for a period of two years.”

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The Netherlands submitted the draft resolution under the Second Article, and it was supported by 18 countries whereas seven others voted with abstention. Meanwhile, the Arab countries supported a resolution under the 10th Article that aims at providing technical assistance and capacity-building to the Yemeni National Committee, and helping it fulfill its mandate in achieving accountability, justice, and reparation of damage in close cooperation with The Office of UNHCR, given that it is the most effective mechanism capable of monitoring and addressing violations on the ground.
Earlier, the HRC had established a team of prominent international and regional experts, headed by Kamel Jendoubi from Tunisia, to monitor and report on the human rights situation in Yemen, and submit reports on that issue. However, over the past four years, the UN team of experts has become part of the Yemeni problem, and its reports have incited sharp divisions among members of the HRC. Besides, the annual reports of the team have proven a complete failure in describing the facts of the conflict and the human rights situation in Yemen.

Children walk at a camp for people recently displaced by fighting between government forces and Houthis, in Marib, Yemen March 8, 2020. (Reuters)
Children walk at a camp for people recently displaced by fighting between government forces and Houthis, in Marib, Yemen March 8, 2020. (Reuters)



Right from the beginning, the team of experts has committed many legal violations, on top of which was its refusal to accept UN Security Council Resolution 2216, and its description of the Houthi militia as a “de facto authority” and of the leader of the Houthi militia as a “revolution leader,” in a shameful contradiction with all the decisions of the UN Security Council. The team of experts has proven its abject failure in describing the facts of the conflict and of the human rights situation in Yemen.

Since the establishment of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen, this mechanism has witnessed division and disagreement over its work and the annual reports it issues on Yemen within the framework of the HRC. In the same vein, many member states of the HRC continued to vote yearly against the resolutions that established this entire mechanism, as a result of repeatedly departing from the tasks entrusted to the Council. Hence, it became clear that the reports of the international team of experts contributed to deepening the divisions and prolonging the conflict and the humanitarian suffering of civilians in Yemen, especially after all the sides concerned with the conflict in Yemen refused to cooperate with the team, in light of its deviation from international standards to fulfill the responsibility related to the tasks of international truth and investigation commissions.

Earlier, the Yemeni government and the Coalition had decided not to cooperate with this team after it issued a report in 2018 blemished by many inaccuracies, slanders and targeting, and because it was based on false foundations and criteria. Meanwhile, the team continued to practice its work outside Yemen with double standards and an improper work methodology, relying on information methods that are neither documented nor accurate, and therefore its reports contained many slanders and accusations against the Coalition countries, in addition to the consequent deepening of the gap between the components of the Yemeni society internally, and confusing the public international opinion, and externally distorting the reality facts about the Yemeni crisis from its beginnings until today.

A Yemeni government fighter holds a machine gun bullet belt at a frontline position during fighting against Houthi fighters in Marib, Yemen March 16, 2021. Picture taken March 16, 2021. (Reuters)
A Yemeni government fighter holds a machine gun bullet belt at a frontline position during fighting against Houthi fighters in Marib, Yemen March 16, 2021. Picture taken March 16, 2021. (Reuters)



The rejection of the European draft resolution reflects a clear understanding of the repercussions of politicizing human rights issues on international reports, which are supposed to be neutral in addressing crises, and in uniting the international community against sharp polarization and the implementation of private agendas, in a new and commendable approach by the HRC that contributes to maintaining the noble standards and values pursued by the Council as a framework for its performance.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Emirati outlet Al-Ittihad.

Read more:

Yemen and the UN’s foresight

Arab concerns are not part of the international community’s interests

God spare us the woes of ‘humanitarian considerations’

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.