UK blocks EU independent investigation of alleged war crimes in Yemen

Published September 26th, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
Yemenis stand on a rooftop after an airstrike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on September 25, 2016. (AFP/Mohammed Huwais)
Yemenis stand on a rooftop after an airstrike carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on September 25, 2016. (AFP/Mohammed Huwais)

The United Kingdom has blocked European Union efforts to launch an independent international inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen.

The Netherlands had hoped to gather support for its proposal that the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva establish an inquiry to look into war crimes and civilian deaths in YemenThe Guardian reported.

The proposal, submitted Friday by Slovakia on behalf of the EU, was replaced by a much weaker call for the UN body to dispatch a mission “to monitor and report on the situation” after the UK refused to give its backing.

Human Rights Watch and other rights groups protested the UK’s stance, accusing it of protecting its arms deals with the Saudi regime.

In an open letter to the HRC, they said an international inquiry would help “establish the facts, collect and preserve information related to violations and abuses with a view to ensuring that those responsible for crimes are brought to justice in fair trials.”

“Blocking attempts to create an international inquiry is a betrayal of the people of Yemen who have suffered so much during this conflict,” said Polly Truscott of Amnesty International. “It’s shocking. The UK ought to be standing up for justice and accountability, not acting as a cheerleader for arms companies.”


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