Yemen Conflict Under UN Investigation for War Crime
One could say that a country’s story is that of its citizens. Yemen’s story, then, is one of civilians caught in the crosshairs: theybear much of the suffering caused by a continuous, angry conflict between the Houthi rebels, who control the capital, and a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, the country to which Yemen’s president escaped.
The collateral damage forced onto the Yemeni people accumulates as the conflict stretches into years. Thousands have died. Famine and malnutrition afflicts millions. A cholera outbreak leaves hospitals overwhelmed. Illegal utilization of airstrikes, landmines, and other weapons creates an atmosphere of violence. Unsurprisingly, millions have little choice but to attempt escape.
It’s no shock, then, that several organizations around the world devoted to human rights have called for international action, especially from the United Nations. Yemenis have themselves become vocal in the campaign for UN involvement as well. The Yemen Times reported that over 100 signatures were included in a document created by unions and organizations that assembled in protest at the United Nations headquarters in Yemen’s capital on September 18. In light of the atrocities committed against millions of Yemeni civilians, the letter pleaded the UN to investigate the Arab coalition’s war crimes.
On Friday, the United Nations Human Rights Council announced a resolution to denounce violations of human rights in the country and committed to sending investigators to Yemen by the end of the year. The war crimes examined will include those committed by both the Saudi-led coalition as well as the Houthi rebels.
The UN’s decision comes after two years of blockage and threats to potential supporters by Saudi Arabia. This version of the resolution has been softened and serves as a compromise between several states. Yemen and Saudi Arabia have both accepted the resolution.
Finally, international action in Yemen has been guaranteed. One day, we may dare to hope, Yemen’s story will be one of civilians who live in a country of justice.