As the war in Yemen heads into its seventh year, millions of people in Yemen continue to suffer through the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis. To date, the UN estimates that 233,000 Yemenis have been killed as a result of the fighting and the humanitarian crisis.
The recent vote by members of the Human Rights Council to reject renewal of the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE), the only international, independent and impartial mechanism to monitor violations by all parties to the conflict, puts millions of already vulnerable lives at further risk.
This is the first time the Human Rights Council has rejected a draft resolution since its establishment in 2006.
The rejection of the renewal of the mandate while violations of international law continue in the country sends the message that those violating the rights of the Yemeni people can act with impunity with no one to hold them accountable. It has also severed the only pathway to international justice for victims of the conflict.
Accountability requires impartial documentation of violations by all parties to a conflict and the GEE’s continued mandate was essential to show the people of Yemen that the world is watching and will work to support the victims of the conflict.
Stopping the GEE will not make the violations disappear, nor will it end the humanitarian needs in the country, but it is an abandonment of the people of Yemen in their time of need. Now more than ever, it is vital to ensure that all parties to the conflict respect International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, including the protection of civilians and civilian properties, and infrastructure including houses, hospitals, schools, water networks and farmlands in which the GEE played a critical monitoring role.
The widespread suffering of vulnerable people in Yemen, who have endured years of conflict, trauma and displacement can only end through the cessation of hostilities by all parties and an inclusive peace process that delivers a just and peaceful outcome for all people in Yemen.