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Sun 09-09-2018 16:58 PM

International symposium urges Human Rights Council to correct fallacies, prejudices in UN report on Yemen - First & Last Add

ABU DHABI, 9th September, 2018 (WAM) -- Following their meeting today, the symposium's participants issued the following statement, addressing Secretary-General of the United Nations, President and members of the Human Rights Council, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Yemen, Secretary-General of League of Arab States, and Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council: "In the beginning, we would like express our deep appreciation and gratitude for all the efforts undertaken by the various the UN bodies, civil society organisations, and governments, individually and collectively, to improve the human rights conditions across the world, and Yemen in particular.

The suffering of the Yemeni people is still ongoing, ever since the Houthi extremist militias overthrew the elected government and Yemen’s legitimate authority, and took control over the country’s resources and cities.

The importance of this issue is evident by the UN Security Council's preoccupation with the Yemeni crisis, having issued a number of resolutions calling for the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen and the abolition of the Houthi militias control. As such, the Arab Coalition states have acted to implement and execute the requirements of these resolutions and provide support to the legitimate authority in Yemen to regain its power and protect the citizens of Yemen from the human rights violations and war crimes inflicted by the extremist militias.

The Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights have been preoccupied with the Yemeni cause, since the Houthi coup against legitimacy, and have issued several resolutions to protect human rights in the country. In September 2017, they issued a resolution to assign a team of experts to evaluate human rights conditions in Yemen, to report findings and conclusions to the Human Rights Council.

In August 28, 2018, the team has submitted its report to your esteemed Council, to be reviewed during its upcoming session, which begins on September 10, 2018. The report documents a number of violations and offenses that break the values and norms that have been agreed by the International Community to reach the truth and stop the suffering of civilians in the world.

This had prompted us to launch the International Symposium, in which human rights experts and a number of civil society organizations have took part in, to evaluate the findings of experts' report on Yemen and present their visions and perceptions that contribute to alleviation and the ending of the Yemeni civilians’ suffering, while holding those responsible accountable for their violations, regardless of their political and sectarian agendas, and the interests of individual countries and regional and international powers.

Participants of the International Symposium, have decided to issue the following statement, which includes the findings of international experts and representatives of civil community organizations, in hopes that you take into consideration the findings and resolutions of the International Symposium that was organised by the UAE Journalists Association, in order to achieve justice for the Yemeni people. This statement will be published internationally and documented in the relevant offices of UN bodies.

The International Symposium recommends to study and evaluate the team of experts’ report, as follows: 1. All parties must work towards achieving peace in Yemen, protect its civilians from atrocities and war crimes, reaching a peaceful resolution to the conflict, holding those accountable, achieve justice in the country at the earliest possible, to restore legitimacy and end the Houthi coup.

2. The importance of having UN Security Council to issue resolutions and take measures to ensure the implementation of all its resolutions on Yemen, and to exert all efforts to restore legitimacy in the country, end the control Houthis’ control over Yemeni resources and cities, in addition to ending the deprivation of Yemeni civilians of their rights and the disruption of development, and provide decent living standards in Yemen.

3. The importance of having Human Rights Council rectify the legal mechanism in which reports are issued, as the Council’s decision to appoint a team of experts was made in accordance with article (10), while the team have issued their report under the second and tenth articles, thus bypassing the legal framework under which they were assigned.

4. The Human Rights Council should cease to review the expert team’s report in accordance with article (2), as it violates the Council’s resolutions, and should review it under the tenth article, which the team was appointed in accordance with last September.

5. The Human Rights Council should take a holistic approach in reviewing human rights conditions in Yemen, by taking into consideration UN reports about the state of human rights in Yemen, and evaluate the team of experts’ report in light of the stark contrast in its findings, compared to other reports that were conducted by the UN and international bodies in operating in Yemen, including reports conduct by Security Council experts and other UN entities in Yemen.

6. The Human Rights Council should assess the results and outcomes of the expert team’s report in relation to its contribution to the ending the suffering of the civilians in Yemen, and its recommendations on how to halt violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity inflicted by Houthi Militias on the Yemeni people in a systematic manner without discrimination. These violations have been outlined in UN reports on Yemen that called upon the international community to take ownership of its responsibilities to protect civilians in Yemen, especially children and women, who are subjected to the most egregious violations and crimes against humanity.

7. The need for the Human Rights Council to unify its vision and decisions on human rights’ conditions in Yemen during its current session, and to intensify its concerns to reach consensus decisions on the situation of human rights in Yemen as a way to halt and end the suffering of Yemen's civilians, while focusing on the suffering of children, women and minors who suffer as a result of these violations, away from state agendas and policies, in order to reach a unanimous resolution that would end the armed conflict in Yemen and put an end to the human suffering in the country.

8. The need for the Human Rights Council to take note of the report that conducted by the team of experts, which followed distorted methodology, in terms of assessing information and the cooperation of other parties concerned with the situation of human rights in Yemen. The report also used double standards in its evaluation of the efforts undertaken by the various parties involved in the providing humanitarian assistance to civilians, as well as its assessment of the various parties’ cooperation with the team. Worse yet, the report’s faulty methodology had resulted in issuing convections on the parties that cooperate with the team, while ignoring other teams that did not cooperate, which led to a distorted image that condemned some parties at the expense of others that did not cooperate with the team in its investigations.

9. The need for the Human Rights Council to rectify the team of experts’ report in line with the decisions of the Security Council and other UN reports, in terms of describing and characterizing the different parties involved in the Yemeni conflict. The report should also use the international resolutions as basis for portraying parties involved in the conflict, as it is used as basis for taking stances and decisions relating to the responsible parties for human rights conditions in Yemen.

10. The need for the Human Rights Council to adjust the findings of team of experts’ report, as they are based on testimonies presented by ambiguous and questionable local, regional and international that lack credibility. These testimonials were not based on field investigations and were carried out in war and conflict zone, and were inconsistent with a number of human rights reports about the humanitarian conditions in Yemen.

11. The need for the Human Rights Council to take into consideration the fact that the team of experts ignored the Arab coalition states refute of the allegations and claims related to the violations, and did not include the official responses that they were given, thus devoiding it from credibility and balance.

12. The Human Rights Council should correct the shortcomings committed by the team of experts in relations to naming leaders and officials in the report. This contradicts the most basic values and principles of human rights. The team, as indicated in its report, did not have the opportunity to investigate, or the freedom of access to victims. As such, the report jumped into conclusion and issued accusations and made claims regarding responsible parties. This is a serious transgression that must be rejected by the Council and should not be permissible. The circumstances, duration and mechanism in which the team had worked, did not provide them with access to facts nor enabled them to conduct criminal investigations that determine responsibility. As such, the Council is requested to ignore and correct the report with regard to what it has pointed out to the parties to the conflict and to ensure that such investigations are not legitimized internationally.

13. The need for the Human Rights Council to rectify the defects and mistakes made by the panel of experts in relying on their undocumented oral testimonies, their personal convictions based on news and media reports, the failure to support their investigations with specialized technical documentations and investigations and their response to their report to the Council. As such, the report does possess the needed credibility or reliability required by similar international reports.

14. The need for the Human Rights Council to rectify the false claims and imbalances committed by the team of experts, by not involving all parties in the investigations, and to share all documents relating to the allegations and violations. This is a long-held tradition that is carried out by investigative committees of the UN and international bodies. By not including all parties, it confirms the lack of neutrality and professionalism of the investigation team and nullifies any findings or charges the team of experts has found in its investigations and reports.

15. The need for the Human Rights Council to correct the chaos and imbalance committed by the Panel of Experts by excluding one of the parties that is illegitimate and directly involved in the conflict in Yemen, namely the intervention of the Iranian regime, which was confirmed and documented by a number of UN and international positions, resolutions and investigations. The report also did not mention the direct role of Iran in exacerbating the armed conflict in Yemen and intensifying the civilians' suffering and the continuation of the humanitarian crisis in the country. Such an act creates an ample doubt and mistrust in the work of the investigation team and the conclusions reached in its report.

16. The need for the Human Rights Council to establish a mechanism for reviewing and correcting the experts team’s report, in accordance with international standards that are adopted in such investigations and reports, and in partnership with the parties concerned, in order to ensure the integrity of the report and not to go out on international legal and procedural controls, and halt end the human tragedy in Yemen.

17. The need for Arab Coalition to form an Arab investigation committee in accordance with the tried mechanisms of the League of Arab States and the Arab Charter for Human Rights. The Coalition is to support and empower the committee to contribute to the investigation procedures in order to end transgressions towards civilians in Yemen and achieve accountability as a way to justice in Yemen."

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Hatem Mohamed