Saudi-UAE coalition interfere in UN panel’s work in Yemen
The head of the United Nation’s investigation team on the Yemen war has accused Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of hindering its work on documenting evidence of “possible war crimes” they have committed throughout their military campaign against their country.
Kamel Jendoubi told Al Jazeera on Thursday that his team presented a list of human rights abuses to the United Nations,following a report in August that pointed to a “substantial number of violations of international humanitarian law” in the Saudi-led war.
Many of these violations may amount to war crimes, the report said, pointing to widespread arbitrary detention, rape, torture and the recruitment of children as young as eight to fight.
The report also said air attacks by the Saudi and UAE-led military coalition had caused the most direct civilian casualties in the war, and a blockade of Yemeni ports and airspace may have violated international humanitarian law.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have been critical of the UN panel’s work.
“I did not expect such a harsh reaction, we’ve done a professional, neutral and objective job,” Jendoubi told Al Jazeera.
“All we did was report based on allegations and actions we collected during our visits, from testimonies and reports … It’s a normal process for any experts,” he said.
The August report blamed airstrikes by the Saud-led military coalition as the most direct cause of civilian casualties in the war, which began in March 2015 as an attempt to overthrow the Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate former fugitive president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
Data collected by Al Jazeera and the Yemen Data Project has found almost one-third of the 16,000 aie raids carried out in the country have hit non-military sites.
In March 2015, the US -backed –Saudi-led coalition started a war against Yemen with the declared aim of crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who had taken over from the staunch Riyadh ally and fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while also seeking to secure the Saudi border with its southern neighbor. Three years and over 600,000 dead and injured Yemeni people and prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country, the war has yielded little to that effect.
More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
Despite the coalition claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.