8 October 2021 - Yemen

Impunity given green light in Yemen as accountability mechanism rejected

Aymen’s* old destroyed house in Darsaad, Aden governorate.

Save the Children is deeply shocked and saddened by the vote at the UN Human Rights Council on 7 October, which has rejected the renewal of the only independent accountability mechanism in Yemen, the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE).

This is the first time the Human Rights Council has rejected a draft resolution since its creation in 2006. The GEE is the only international, independent, and impartial mechanism in Yemen working to monitor and combat violations by all parties to the conflict and provide visibility and deterrence for such violations.

“This is a devastating blow for the people of Yemen, including the millions of vulnerable children who depended on the mechanism for future accountability and justice,” said Xavier Joubert, Save the Children Yemen Country Director.

With Yemen recognised as one of the largest humanitarian crises globally, and constantly teetering on the brink of famine, impunity for violations continues to fuel this man-made crisis. Over 16 million face acute food insecurity daily and Yemeni children continue to be vicious collateral damage, being killed or maimed because of the brutal conflict. Over 400,000 are at risk of dying of starvation and malnutrition due to the deteriorating economy and restrictions on food, and schools and health facilities continue to be under attack.

Mr Joubert added: “Although 18 States voted in favour of keeping this critical mandate, the harsh reality is that 21 States voted against it—severing the only path to international justice for victims of egregious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

“This effectively means that perpetrators of such violations have just been given the green light to continue committing grave violations with complete impunity and little scrutiny from the international community, further undermining the prospects for peace and stability in the country.”

Save the Children calls on the Human Rights Council and the international community to ensure accountability for all violations and abuses against children, through the urgent reinstatement of an international independent monitoring and reporting mechanism on Yemen and the establishment of an adequately resourced and sufficiently staffed international investigative mechanism for the country.

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