News ID: 200505
Published: 0157 GMT September 13, 2017

Saudis say time not ripe for international Yemen probe

Saudis say time not ripe for international Yemen probe

The time is not right for an independent international inquiry into human rights violations in Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva said on Wednesday, responding to calls from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Netherlands and Canada are backing a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council, mandating an international inquiry, but Saudi Ambassador Abdulaziz Alwasil said a national Yemeni commission would be in a better position to investigate, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia and its allies have been carrying out airstrikes against Yemen since March 2015 in support of the country’s former government which stepped down. 

The aggression has killed over 10,000 people.

“We are working together to hopefully come to a compromise,” Alwasil said.

“We have no objection to the inquiry itself, we just have a discussion about the timing, whether this is the right time to establish an international commission, with the difficulties on the ground,” Alwasil said.

UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, has long called for an independent international inquiry into the conflict and says Yemen’s National Commission is not up to the job of investigating the situation.

Zeid said on Monday there had been only “minimal” efforts at holding people to account in what the United Nations has branded the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

For the past two years the 47-member Human Rights Council has rejected the Dutch demand for an international probe and backed the Saudi view that favors a Yemeni commission.

Alwasil said he again expected the council to back its stance, adding that a locally formed commission would have better access and connections around the country.

The Saudi envoy said the international community should focus its efforts on gaining access for humanitarian personnel.

The Saudi-led coalition has also has set up a team to investigate civilian casualties. On Tuesday, it said it had found a series of deadly airstrikes had been largely justified.

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