Tuesday, October 11, 2016

UN human rights boss repeats call for investigation into Yemen war crimes

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has again called for an international investigation into possible war crimes in Yemen, stressing that a deadly airstrike on a funeral service at the weekend indicates that violations have continued without repercussions.

The UN’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, said that the bombing of a funeral in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a was “outrageous”. More than 150 civilians were killed and over 525 others injured.

“Since the beginning of this conflict in Yemen, weddings, marketplaces, hospitals, schools – and now mourners at a funeral – have been hit, resulting in massive civilian casualties and zero accountability for those responsible,” he said in a statement.

Zeid attracted attention to the fact that for the second year in a row the UN Human Rights Council has turned down his calls “to take decisive action to create an international, independent investigative body to look into extremely serious alleged violations of international law, including possible war crimes, in Yemen.”

“The Human Rights Council’s inability to take decisive action by setting up an international investigation is contributing to a climate of impunity, and violations continue to occur on a regular basis,” he said.

According to the High Commissioner, the international community “has a legal and moral duty to react robustly to the increasingly horrific levels of civilian casualties in Yemen, just as it has in many other situations.”

Zeid revealed a new UN death toll in Yemen. Some 4,125 civilians have been killed and 7,207 injured since March 2015.

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