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Published on Dec 7, 2016
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
General debate under agenda item 10 – Technical assistance and capacity-building (including on SG/HC Reports on Cambodia and Yemen)
Delivered by Ms. Alessia Vedano
Thank you Mr. Vice-President,
As the High Commissioner for Human Rights well expressed in his update report yesterday afternoon, the situation of Yemen has become a truly dramatic one. Since 2011, Yemen has been the theatre of a number of simultaneous and overlapping armed conflicts which have been tearing the country apart.
The Houthi-Saleh militias have been authors of grave violations against innocent civilians. In particular we are extremely concerned with the persistent attacks on highly populated areas, including on residential buildings, public and private infrastructures, historic or cultural sites and places of worship. In addition, the brutal militias have harassed and killed journalists and human rights defenders to undermine their freedom of expression.
We are acutely distressed by all cases of arbitrary deprivation of liberty, unlawful detention, enforced disappearance, intimidation, unlawful killing as well as sieges and blockades that have been committed at the hands of the same actors. How can Yemenis live even a resemblance of normal life when all of this occurs in total impunity?
The perpetuation of the conflict is having devastating consequences on the innocent population in Yemen, including women and children, who are trying to live a dignified life without fear and violence.
States are responsible for promoting and protecting the human rights of all persons who are in their territory. However, whereas such protection is not ensured the international community has a duty to support national institutions in the implementation of human rights standards. Such interference should be in accordance with the principles states sovereignty and always respectful of human rights law and international law.
In this context, we urge this council to announce technical assistance and capacity-building and fully support the Yemeni National Commission of Inquiry established to investigate the heinous crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against civilians, so that justice for Yemenis can finally be achieved and the perpetrators of the crimes stopped once and for all.