UN aid official in Yemen urges lifting of blockade, says millions a ‘step away from famine’

The Al Hudaydah port is a major lifeline for Yemen, bringing in food and humanitarian assistance. These cranes have been out of service since mid-2015, with little hope of repair anytime soon. Photo: Giles Clarke/OCHA

11 December 2017

The continuing blockade of ports in Yemen must be lifted, a senior United Nations humanitarian official today urged, calling for greater access to more than eight million people on the verge of famine.

Speaking from Sana’a, Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen saidthat “the lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support.”

He called on all groups involved in the conflict to “fully facilitate sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access, as required by international humanitarian law.”

Mr. McGoldrick said this means lifting of restrictions on Yemen’s Red Sea ports and Sana’a airport, which continue to delay aid from entering the country and hindering the availability of food and fuel.

He also urged parties to the conflict to ensure protection for aid workers and facilities, process visas and not interfere unnecessarily in the work of aid organizations.

The UN aid official also warned about renewed violence along the western coast of the country and other parts of Yemen.

“I am greatly alarmed at reports of hospitals being damaged, populations being impeded from fleeing to safe areas and killings and arbitrary detentions reportedly being carried out in Sana’a,” said Mr. McGoldrick.

In the statement, the official warned that fresh violence would “only lead to further devastation” for the 22 million people in need.

He said that a political solution is the only means to put an end to the suffering, and reiterated his called on any countries with influence to step up their engagement to protect civilians and put an end to this conflict.

“As stated by the UN Secretary-General, it is in the interest of everybody to stop this war,” he said echoing António Guterres’s comments in recent weeks.

Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, Calling on Parties to Facilitate Unimpeded Aid Delivery

Sana’a, 11 December 2017

The violence that engulfed Sana’a city over the last weeks has subsided, but the suffering continues. Famine still threatens millions; preventable diseases continually strike a weakened population in all parts of Yemen. The continuing blockade of ports, is limiting supplies of fuel, food and medicines; dramatically increasing the number of vulnerable people who need help.

The priority for humanitarian organisations is to resume life-saving operations that were scaled back because of insecurity. The lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support. This includes assistance to the thousands that were impacted by the recent violence in Sana’a city and other parts of Yemen.

Humanitarian organisations are doing their best, with limited resources, to address the threat of displacement, famine and disease, which millions of Yemenis face daily. Significant progress has been made, as 7 million people are fed monthly and an unprecedented cholera epidemic has been largely contained. Measures are in place to ensure the highest standards in aid delivery, with assistance reaching those in most need. Yet, these gains are under threat.

The parties to the conflict have an obligation to fully facilitate sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access, as required by international humanitarian law. This includes ensuring the protection of humanitarian staff and facilities, facilitating visas and desisting from any undue interference in the work of humanitarian organisations. It also means lifting the restrictions on Yemen’s Red Sea ports and Sana’a airport, which continue to delay humanitarian supplies entering the country and are hindering the availability of essential commercial goods, such as food and fuel.

Aid organisations must be enabled to deliver critical assistance. The contrary will have a devastating impact on an already dire humanitarian situation. Furthermore, all parties to the conflict must uphold their responsibilities to ensure the protection of civilians.

As fighting intensifies along the western coast and other parts of Yemen, I am greatly alarmed at reports of hospitals being damaged, populations being impeded from fleeing to safe areas and killings and arbitrary detentions reportedly being carried out in Sana’a. Renewed violence will only lead to further devastation for the 22 million people who need assistance and protection. A political solution is the only means to put an end to the suffering of the Yemeni people. I also reiterate my calls on States that have influence over the parties to step up their engagement to protect civilians and put an end to this conflict. As stated by the UN Secretary-General, it is in the interest of everybody to stop this war.

For further information, please contact:
George Khoury, Head of Office, UN-OCHA Yemen | Tel: +967 712 222 207 | E-mail: khouryg@un.org Federica D’Andreagiovanni, Head of Communication, UN-OCHA Yemen | Tel: +962 79 687 6082| E-mail: dandreagiovannif@un.org

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — REMARKS AT HUMAN RIGHTS DAY EVENT

New York, 11 December 2017

I am very pleased to be with you today to begin a year-long celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Over seven decades, this mighty document has helped to profoundly change our world.

It establishes the equality and dignity of every human being.

It stipulates that every government has a duty to enable all people to enjoy their inalienable rights and freedoms.

And it establishes that these rights are universal.

Wherever we live, whatever our circumstances or our place in society, our gender or sexual orientation, our race or religion or belief, we are all equal in human rights and in dignity.

Let me emphasise this point: human rights are not bound by any single tradition, culture or belief.

When the world’s nations adopted the Universal Declaration in 1948, they acknowledged the diversity of cultures and political systems.

But they also affirmed the Declaration as a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”.

And it is by this essential yardstick that history will judge the leaders of nations and the United Nations itself.

Have we, through our actions and our advocacy, advanced respect for human dignity, equality and rights?

Have we created equitable and inclusive societies, based on justice and fair opportunities and services for all?

Have we advanced freedom from want and fear?

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enters its 70th year, we can take stock of some of the achievements it has enabled.

Over seven decades, humanity has achieved considerable progress.

People around the world have gained progressively greater freedoms and equality.

They have been empowered to oppose discrimination, fight for protections, and gain greater access to justice, health, education and development opportunities.

Conditions of profound economic misery and exploitation have been improved.

Women’s rights have advanced, along with the rights of the child, the rights of victims of racial and religious discrimination, the rights of people with disabilities and a multitude of economic, social and cultural rights.

Oppressive dictatorships have been replaced by participatory systems of governance.

Perpetrators of horrific human rights violations – including sexual violence and genocide – have been prosecuted by international tribunals.

So, there is much to celebrate, and many to thank.

We have to thank a generation of world leaders, who emerged from a world war convinced that only justice would build peace among and within nations.

And we have to thank activists and human rights defenders – hundreds of thousands of ordinary people around the world who have mobilized to defend fundamental rights with immense courage, often in the face of extreme danger.

But as well as celebrating, we must also take stock of where we have fallen short.

In practice, recognition of the inherent dignity and equal rights of human beings is still far from universal.

Millions of people continue to suffer human rights violations and abuses around the world.

And human rights defenders still face persecution, reprisals are rising and the space for civil society action is shrinking in very many nations.

But the founders of the United Nations were right.

Lasting peace and security can never be achieved in any country without respect for human rights.

The Sustainable Development Agenda – which aims to lift millions from poverty and enable them to access their economic and social rights — is deeply rooted in respect for human rights.

So, Excellencies and ladies and gentlemen, we are here today not just to mark another anniversary and then go about our usual business.

We are here to reflect on the core and enduring importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to engage those around us to put its powerful words into practice.

We are here to affirm the existential commitment of the whole UN system to ensure that the central focus of all our policies is the advancement of human dignity, equality and rights.

And we are here to speak out and take a stand for human rights.

All of us have a role to play — at work, in the street, in our daily lives.

As Secretary-General, I take the pledge that we are all being asked to take today by the UN Human Rights Office – the pledge is the following:

“I will respect your rights regardless of who you are.

I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you.

When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone’s rights are undermined, so I will stand up.

I will raise my voice.  I will take action.  I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.”

As Secretary-General, I am committed and will remain engaged in human rights, including by speaking out for those in need, promoting justice for all, and by ensuring that human rights are integrated throughout the work of the United Nations.

This is the path to a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.

Thank you very much.

REMARKS AT ANNUAL HIGH-LEVEL PLEDGING CONFERENCE FOR THE UNITED NATIONS CENTRAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE FUND

New York, 8 December 2017

[as delivered]

It is a pleasure for me to be here with you to celebrate a United Nations success story – the Central Emergency Response Fund.

Over the past twelve years, CERF has been at the forefront of humanitarian response.

I have long been, as Mark [Lowcock] said, a champion of this fund, having seen its effects in humanitarian crises around the world. CERF is without question one of our most important tools to reach people quickly and to save lives.

Thanks to CERF, country teams can start relief efforts immediately with prioritized programmes designed to reach the most vulnerable people first.

The Central Emergency Response Fund supports a vast network of partners.

It steps in when an existing crisis gets worse.

And it helps to sustain operations when the spotlight has moved on, in chronic crises that sometimes do not get the attention they need.

We have just seen some of the life-saving work funded by CERF this year. It provided nearly
$130 million to help prevent famine in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

Nutrition and healthcare services funded by CERF are particularly important for the children and pregnant women who suffer most from hunger and malnutrition.

When I visited Gaza in August, I released $4 million from CERF to help fund UN activities until the end of this year.

In the last three months, $19 million in CERF funding has gone to Bangladesh, to help with the sudden influx of more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

And when hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean, CERF helped tens of thousands of people get access to shelter, food and clean water.

CERF not only works quickly; it is designed to ensure that humanitarian aid gets to the most urgent cases first, including women and girls who are disproportionately affected by crisis.

It supports strong coordination between humanitarian agencies and NGOs. And it acts as a catalyst to mobilize resources from elsewhere.

From reproductive health services in northern Nigeria to emergency shelter in Afghanistan, CERF has a real impact on the lives of the most vulnerable.

I thank the 126 Member States and Observers, and the other donors who have generously contributed to the fund over the past 12 years.

Every CERF donor, regardless of the size of their contribution, shares in its achievements.

This is truly a fund for all, by all.

We need CERF now more than ever.

Since CERF was launched in 2005, humanitarian needs have increased from $5.2 billion to over $24 billion today.

Protracted conflict and the impact of natural disasters, compounded by structural fragility and chronic vulnerability, mean that more people than ever survive on the brink of disaster.

Conflict and early warning indicators show that in the next year, 2018, protracted crises are likely to continue, while the impact of climate change is likely to grow in intensity and in impact. There is no sign of a let-up in humanitarian needs.

To keep pace, the General Assembly adopted a resolution exactly a year ago, calling for an expansion of CERF’s annual funding target from $450 million to $1 billion.

I was among the first to propose a ‘Super-CERF’ for the biggest emergencies, in my previous role as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. I was acutely aware of the need for UN agencies and others to respond to crises more quickly and more effectively.

I thank Member States for endorsing this call, which sent a message of global solidarity with people in crises, and with those furthest behind.

Humanitarian programmes funded by the CERF are essential, if we are to fulfil the shared ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – one blueprint that is our blueprint for an inclusive, sustainable future with lives of dignity for all on a healthy planet.

Providing emergency aid is vital in itself, but it is also an important foundation for resilience, sustainable development and job creation in protracted and underfunded crises.

As a further contribution to these efforts, I am pleased to announce a CERF allocation of $100 million dollars to meet critical needs in nine underfunded emergencies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali, Philippines, Eritrea, Haiti and Pakistan.

In all these crises, CERF funds will enable UN agencies and their partners to carry out essential life-saving activities, and contribute to longer-term resilience and stability.

My experience in UNHCR has shown me that CERF is always the first to come when we have an emergency, and the last to leave when situations are forgotten. I would say that CERF never leaves when situations are forgotten.

But much more is needed.

The global humanitarian funding gap stands at $11 billion as of 30 November.

Humanitarian response plans are funded at an average of just 60 per cent.

A $1 billion CERF will help to bolster contingency financing so that we are able to mitigate and respond to humanitarian suffering quickly in the future.

$1 billion is an ambitious but achievable goal.

I hope you will take action to reach this target here today, or as soon as possible.

A strong United Nations needs a strong CERF.

It is essential to support the lives and livelihoods of millions of people—women, girls, men and boys—who depend on humanitarian aid to lift them out of crisis and give them hope of a better future.

I count on your continued generous support.

Thank you very much.

مسؤول دولي: الأيام الماضية عقدت البيئة السياسية والإنسانية في اليمن

2017/12/7
قال جيمي ماكغولدريك منسق الأمم المتحدة للشؤون الإنسانية في اليمن إن وكالات الإغاثة تمكنت خلال الأربع والعشرين ساعة الماضية من التحرك بأعداد صغيرة لتقييم الوضع في صنعاء.
 
وتفيد التقارير بأن نحو 230 شخصا قد قتلوا وأصيب أكثر من أربعمئة وثمانين في صنعاء خلال تصعيد الصراع في الأيام الستة الماضية.
 
وعبر الهاتف من صنعاء تحدث ماكغولدريك إلى الصحفيين بمقر الأمم المتحدة:
“خلال الأيام الماضية سمعنا أن سيارات الإسعاف والفرق الطبية لم تتمكن من الوصول إلى الجرحى فيما تواجه المستشفيات صعوبات في التعامل مع الإصابات. وخلال هذه الأيام الصعبة للغاية في المدينة سمعنا عن تعرض سيارات الإسعاف والمنشآت الإنسانية إلى الهجوم من قبل قناصة. إن حركة العاملين في المجال الإنساني مقيدة بشكل كبير في صنعاء، بما فاقم الوضع المروع.”
 
ويحتاج أكثر من 22 مليون شخص في اليمن إلى المساعدة الإنسانية، ويواجه أكثر من 8 ملايين شخص خطر حدوث المجاعة.
 
وقال ماكغولدريك إن الأيام الماضية قد عقدت البيئة المعقدة على الصعيدين السياسي والإنساني في اليمن.
 
وأضاف أن المكاسب التي حققها مجتمع العمل الإنساني في اليمن خلال الأشهر الستة الماضية على صعيد منع حدوث المجاعة ومكافحة الكوليرا، ستتراجع إذا لم يتم توفير الدعم للسكان المستضعفين.
 
وأشار إلى دخول بعض الإمدادات الغذائية عبر الموانئ المختلفة، ولكنه شدد على ضرورة توفير الوقود لتوصيل الغذاء إلى المحتاجين.
 
وتحتاج الاستجابة الإنسانية في اليمن إلى ملايين لترات الوقود شهريا لتواصل المولدات في المستشفيات عملها، ولتوصيل الغذاء وضخ المياه.
 
وشدد المسؤول الدولي على الحاجة لفتح كل الموانئ اليمنية للسماح بدخول السلع التجارية والإنسانية.

المبعوث الدولي إلى اليمن يدعو كل الأطراف إلى ضبط النفس

2017/12/5

عقد مجلس الأمن الدولي مشاورات مغلقة حول الوضع في اليمن، تحدث خلالها إسماعيل ولد الشيخ أحمد المبعوث الخاص للأمين العام إلى اليمن ومارك لوكوك منسق الأمم المتحدة للإغاثة الطارئة.

قال ولد الشيخ أحمد، في إحاطته، إن التصعيد بلغ مستويات غير مسبوقة في الأيام القليلة الماضية. ودعا كل الأطراف إلى ضبط النفس والامتناع عن القيام بأعمال استفزازية.

وشدد على وجوب التزام الأطراف بواجباتها وفقا للقانون الإنساني الدولي وقانون حقوق الإنسان.

ووفق بيان صحفي صادر عن المبعوث الدولي، قال ولد الشيخ أحمد لأعضاء مجلس الأمن “لقد شهد الوضع تطورا خطيرا جديدا مع مقتل الرئيس السابق علي عبد الله صالح وعدد من قادة المؤتمر الشعبي العام، بمن فيهم الأمين العام عارف زوكا، رئيس وفد المؤتمر إلى محادثات السلام. وستشكل هذه الأحداث تغييرا كبيرا في التحالفات السياسية في اليمن.”

وأعرب ولد الشيخ أحمد عن تأييده لنداء منسق الأمم المتحدة للشؤون الإنسانية من أجل وقف القتال لأغراض إنسانية للسماح للمدنيين بالتزود بالغذاء والماء والدواء.

وحذر المبعوث الدولي من أن تصعيد الأعمال القتالية يضاعف الخطر على حياة المدنيين ويزيد معاناتهم. وقال ” قد تؤثر الأحداث الأخيرة سلبا على الاحتياجات الإنسانية في اليمن، وتثير مخاوف جدية بشأن مصير اليمنيين الذين يعتمدون على المساعدات الإنسانية”.

وشدد ولد الشيخ أحمد على أن الحاجة ملحة اليوم وأكثر من أي وقت مضى إلى تسوية تفاوضية، مؤكدا عدم وجود حل عسكري لهذا الصراع، وقال إن القضايا الأساسية للصراع اليمني لا تزال بدون حل مما لا يخدم مصالح اليمن أو المنطقة.

وأضاف “أن وحده الحل الشامل الذي يضم جميع الأطراف في اليمن يمكن أن ينتج حلا سلميا ومستداما لشعب اليمن”.

Amid alarming spike in violence, looming famine, Yemen gripped by uncertainty – UN officials

War-torn Taiz governorate district of Al Qahira, Yemen. Photo: WFP

5 December 2017

Yemen remains gripped by uncertainty after the assassination of the former president and a spike in brutal violence in and around its capital, Sana’a, the United Nations envoy for the war-torn country said Tuesday.

“The situation is reaching a new adverse development with the killing of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and a number of GPC [General People’s Congress] leaders,” Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, told a closed session of the UN Security Council Tuesday.

“These events will constitute a considerable change to the political dynamics in Yemen,” he added.

Briefing alongside Mr. Cheikh Ahmed was the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, who underscored that the humanitarian situation in the country remains severe, with millions on the cusp of the largest famine in modern times.

Intense fighting – including airstrikes and rocket attacks – have devastated the country and brought incredible hardships on its people. Over 17 million Yemenis (close to two-thirds of the population) is food insecure while a staggering 8.5 million people are on the brink of starvation.

In all, close to 21 million people across Yemen are in need of humanitarian or protection support.

The violence has also devastated basic services in the country, all but destroyed its water and sanitation system, and sparked a deadly cholera outbreak that has claimed thousands of innocent lives – including children.

Making matters much worse is that aid workers are not able to carry out their vital mission to save lives due to the scale of fighting and insecurity.

Overnight, 25 air strikes had targeted the Republican Palace, bridges and civilian infrastructure in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, forcing humanitarian agencies, including the UN, the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations into a lockdown.

Against this backdrop, the top UN relief official in the country, Jamie McGoldrick, had appealed Monday for a “humanitarian pause” today from 10:00 AM to 16:00 PM (Yemen time) to allow desperate civilians reach assistance and safety as well as for aid workers to reach them.

Speaking via telephone, from Sana’a, to journalists at a press briefing in Geneva today on his request for a pause in fighting, Mr. McGoldrick expressed that while he does not expect full compliance by all the parties, he hoped for some respite in the fighting to allow civilians to access supplies and medical care.

The “hallmark of the crisis,” he noted has been the general disregard for international humanitarian law.

The UN and reiterated, time and again, reiterated the obligation of the parties to the conflict to ensure civilians are protected, and health and aid workers, and civilian infrastructure not be subjected to attacks.

في ظل استمرار عدم اليقين في صنعاء، الوكالات الإنسانية تحاول استئناف نشاطها

2017/12/5

قال جيمي ماكغولدريك منسق الأمم المتحدة للشؤون الإنسانية في اليمن إن الأسر في العاصمة صنعاء بدأت في الخروج من منازلها في ظل حدوث توقف في القتال الذي أودى بحياة 125 شخصا خلال الأيام الماضية.

وعبر الهاتف من صنعاء تحدث ماكغولدريك إلى الصحفيين بمقر الأمم المتحدة في جنيف قائلا إن المدنيين، خلال الأيام الخمسة الماضية، كانوا يحتمون في منازلهم بسبب القصف الجوي والمعارك الدائرة بالشوارع.

“بسبب عدم قدرتنا على التنقل عبر المدينة خلال الأيام الخمسة الماضية، لم تتمكن وكالات الأمم المتحدة ولجنة الصليب الأحمر والمجتمع المدني من القيام بأنشطتنا المنقذة للحياة. كنا في الأدوار السفلى من المباني أو داخل المجمعات غير قادرين على الخروج منها لأن القتال كان حولنا في كل مكان مع القصف ووجود الدبابات والسيارات المصفحة في الشوارع. فقمنا بإرسال إمدادات وأدوات لعلاج الإصابات إلى المستشفيات والعيادات. ولكننا نسمع قصصا كثيرة عن مصابين لم يتمكنوا من الوصول إلى المستشفيات وعن نساء حوامل غير قادرات على مغادرة منازلهن.”

وأضاف المسؤول الدولي أن المعلومات أفادت بتعرض سيارات إسعاف لإطلاق نار من قناصة من أسطح المنازل.

وذكر ماكغولدريك أن القتال انتقل إلى مشارف مدينة صنعاء، حيث تتقاتل قوات التحالف الدولي الداعم للرئيس عبد ربه منصور هادي مع الحوثيين.

وقال منسق الشؤون الإنسانية في اليمن إن حالة عدم اليقين مستمرة، وإن الوكالات الإنسانية لا تعلم ما إذا كانت تستطيع استئناف نشاطها أم يتعين أن تنتظر لبعض الوقت.

وأضاف أن فريقا من الأمم المتحدة سيسافر إلى السعودية في محاولة لضمان تخفيف الإغلاق المفروض من التحالف على اليمن.

 

وذكر المسؤول الدولي أن أحد الأهداف الرئيسية هو تخفيف الإغلاق المفروض على ميناء الحديدة للسماح للسفن بتنزيل حمولتها من الوقود والغذاء والدواء.

Paramount that civilians are protected in Yemen, underscores UN

A child’s bicycle lies amid rubble of a destroyed house in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. (File) Photo: OCHA/Charlotte Cans

4 December 2017

Voicing concern over the dramatic escalation in fighting in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and surrounding areas, that have reportedly killed about one hundred people and injured many more, the United Nations called on the parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international law and ensure that civilians are not harmed.

“It is paramount that civilians are protected, that the wounded are afforded safe access to medical care, and that all sides facilitate life-saving humanitarian access,” Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, told reporters Monday at a regular press briefing at the UN Headquarters, in New York.

“We remind all parties to the conflict that deliberate attacks against civilians and against civilian and medical infrastructure are clear violations of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.”

At the briefing, the UN spokesperson also said that relief workers in the city are not able to reach those in desperate need of help due to the sheer scale of violence and that there have been reports that ambulances have been attacked.

Renewing the Organization’s call on warring parties for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Sana’a, he added: “We cannot overemphasize that there is no military solution to the Yemen conflict. [We] stand ready to facilitate a negotiated political settlement that is inclusive, fair and sustainable.”

Earlier today, Jamie McGoldrick, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, highlighted the severity of the crisis and called for an urgent humanitarian pause to allow civilians to seek assistance, aid workers to reach them, and for the wounded to be evacuated.

The streets of Sana’a have become battlegrounds and people are trapped in their homes, unable to move out in search of safety and medical care and to access basic supplies such as food, fuel and safe water,” he said in a statement.

“I call on all parties to the conflict to urgently enable a humanitarian pause on Tuesday, 5 December, between 10.00 AM and 16.00 PM to allow civilians to leave their homes and seek assistance and protection,” he added.

Mr. McGoldrick also urged UN Member States with leverage on the parties to the conflict to step up their engagement “for the sake of the protection of the civilian population.”

Further in the statement, the senior UN relief official also stressed that deliberate attacks against civilians, humanitarians and health-care personnel, as well as against civilian and medical infrastructure, are clear violations of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.

UN rights chief appoints experts to investigate violations and abuses in Yemen

In related news, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Monday appointed members to the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, established by the Human Rights Council in September this year, to monitor and report on the situation in the war-torn country.

In the resolution, the Geneva-based Human Rights Council –the highest intergovernmental forum on human rights within the UN system – requested the experts to carry out a “comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and other appropriate and applicable fields of international law committed by all parties to the conflict […] and to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and abuses and, where possible, to identify those responsible.”

The members appointed Monday are Kamel Jendoubi (Tunisia), who will serve as chairperson, Charles Garraway (United Kingdom) and Melissa Parke (Australia).

“The group’s creation is an important step toward accountability and ending impunity for the serious violations of human rights committed by all sides in Yemen amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in the country, and ensuring justice and remedy for the victims,” said the UN rights chief, in a news releaseannouncing the appointments.

According to the release, the experts will submit a comprehensive written report to the High Commissioner by September 2018.

Yemen: Zeid appoints group of eminent international and regional experts

GENEVA (4 December 2017)

The upsurge in deadly violence in recent days in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, has once again highlighted the horrific impact on civilians of the country’s brutal war, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Monday.

“For three years, the people of Yemen have been subjected to death, destruction and despair. It is essential that those who have inflicted such violations and abuses are held to account,” the High Commissioner said, as he announced the appointment of the members of Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen established by the Human Rights Council.

The members are Kamel Jendoubi (Tunisia), who will serve as chairperson, Charles Garraway (United Kingdom) and Melissa Parke (Australia).

“The group’s creation is an important step toward accountability and ending impunity for the serious violations of human rights committed by all sides in Yemen amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in the country, and ensuring justice and remedy for the victims,” said Zeid.

The group of eminent international and regional experts was mandated by a UN Human Rights Council resolution adopted on 29 September 2017. In the resolution, the Council condemns the “ongoing violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, including those involving the widespread recruitment and use of children by parties to the armed conflict, arbitrary arrests and detention, denial of humanitarian access and attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including medical facilities and missions and their personnel, as well as schools, and emphasizes the importance of accountability”.

The resolution requests the experts “to monitor and report on the situation of human rights, to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and other appropriate and applicable fields of international law committed by all parties to the conflict since September 2014, including the possible gender dimensions of such violations, and to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violations and abuses and, where possible, to identify those responsible.”

The group of eminent experts will submit a comprehensive written report to the High Commissioner by September 2018.

Member’s biographies:

Kamel Jendoubi, from Tunisia, served as the President of the Independent Higher Electoral Commission (ISIE), which organized the first free and democratic elections in Tunisia, in October, 2011. He has served as a member and president of several human rights associations, including the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies. He was also a member of the executive council of the World Organization Against Torture. Jendoubi spent 17 years in exile as a result of his human rights activism in Tunisia.

Charles Garraway, from the United Kingdom, served for 30 years as a legal officer in the UK Army Legal Services, as criminal prosecutor and then adviser in the law of armed conflict and operational law.  He was part of the UK delegations to the First Review Conference for the 1981 Conventional Weapons Convention and the negotiations on the establishment of an International Criminal Court. Until recently he was a member of the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission under Article 90 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. He is currently a Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.

Melissa Parke, from Australia, was a federal member of parliament from 2007 to 2016 and was appointed as minister for international development in 2013.   Parke spent eight years working for the UN as a senior lawyer, including with UNMIK in Kosovo and UNRWA in Palestine. She has served in UN headquarters in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management where she helped to establish the UN Ethics Office. Parke also served as Deputy Chief of Staff and legal adviser to the UN Independent Investigation Commission into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Full text of HRC Resolution 36/31: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/36/31

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 /rcolville@ohchr.org) or Liz Throssell (+41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org) or Jeremy Laurence (+ 41 22 917 9383  / jlaurence@ohchr.org
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