Saudi-led coalition criticizes UN Yemen rights mission - Kogonuso

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Sep 28, 2018

Saudi-led coalition criticizes UN Yemen rights mission

A UN human rights mission to Yemen had its madate extended on Friday despite criticism from the internationally recognized government and the Arab military coalition that it is biased and relies on inaccurate information.

The coalition battling alongside the government against the Houthi militia said any extension should be decided by the Yemeni administration.

That government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on Thursday it was ending cooperation with the UN investigation into suspected war crimes during more than three years of conflict, AFP reported.
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted 21 to 8, with 18 abstentions, in favor of a resolution that renewed the investigation for a year.
A report released last month by the investigation was stronly critisized by the Yemen government and the coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Yemeni government said ahead of the vote that it rejected an extension of the mission’s mandate based on the report, which contained a number of inaccuracies.

Human Rights Minister Mohammed Askar said Yemen's own national commission of inquiry had already been successful and "enables us to dispense with any international agencies."

“I believe we tried to show goodwill and gave the experts facilities, but the result was a disappointing report,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat, the sister paper of Arab News.

One of the errors that the report included is that “it named Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi as leader of the revolution even though he is the biggest criminal in Yemen”, Askar said. "We rejected the extension to show that the report is biased."

The Saudi-led coalition also took strong issue with the Aug. 28 report by the panel, which accused both government forces and Houthi militia of violations but said that coalition air strikes had caused “most of the documented civilian casualties” and voiced “serious concerns about the targeting process.”

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki criticized the “inaccuracy of the information in the report, which was derived from non-governmental organizations and the testimonies of some persons whose circumstances are unknown.”

The report “failed to mention Iran’s role in Yemen, and the countless violations perpetrated by the Houthis, both against the Yemeni people and against the kingdom” of Saudi Arabia, Col Al-Maliki said.

“These violations include targeting the Kingdom using Iranian ballistic missiles — aimed at civilian and religious sites,” he added.

The Houthis have fired more than 200 missiles at Saudi Arabia since it intervened in Yemen in March 2015 when the government was forced into exile as they closed in on his last stronghold. Saudi The coalition accuses Iran of smuggling the missiles through the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida, the entry point for UN aid for millions of civilians.

The UN Human Rights Council, which appointed the panel of experts to investigate human rights violations a year ago.

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