Time to tackle Houthi intransigence - GulfToday

Time to tackle Houthi intransigence

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Yemeni boys play outside a house.

The international community well knows that the conflict in Yemen and the humanitarian suffering in many parts of the country are the direct results of the illegal and violent overthrow in 2014 of the legitimate government of Yemen by the Houthi militia.

Right from the beginning, the Saudi-led Arab Coalition’s singular intention has been to spread justice and uphold the legitimacy in Yemen.

Unfortunately, endless violations by the Iran-backed Houthi militias have been threatening the overall political process and continue to inflict huge suffering on the Yemeni people.

The UAE, on its part, has been continuously engaged in providing humanitarian relief assistance and supporting the Yemeni people so as to alleviate the dire humanitarian conditions prevailing there.

In this background, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Bin Mohammed Gargash’s categorical rejection of a report by the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen is totally justified.

The minister’s letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, unambiguously explains the Group’s mistakes and missteps in judgement and methodology that are too numerous and too serious to ignore. As Gargash pointed out, that was the reason why the UAE, along with many other HRC members, decided not to support the renewal of the mandate of the Group of Experts last year.

It is significant to note that attached to the letter was a detailed assessment of the Group of Experts’ report published in 2018.

This assessment was prepared over the course of several months, and is based on a careful and comprehensive consideration of the report, its methodology, and relevant principles of international law. The assessment clearly finds that the Group in its report has both exceeded its mandate in a number of ways, while at the same time failing to fulfill important aspects of it. The Group did not apply the context of the conflict in Yemen to its monitoring and reporting functions, and its methodological approach was totally flawed.

The Group also misinterpreted and misapplied international law, and presented incorrect claims against the UAE.

The Human Rights Council, HRC, as the minister earnestly points out, should instead refocus on providing support to the Government of Yemen in building institutions to protect human rights in the country.

Just last week, the Yemeni Ambassador to the UAE urged the international community to pressure the Houthi militias into abiding by the UN-brokered Stockholm Agreement, and to put an end to the rebels’ willful disregard of international efforts and the policy of procrastination they are pursuing to undermine peace endeavours.

Fahad Saeed Al Menhali had rightly stated that the Sweden deal is premised to easing the suffering of the Yemeni people and facilitating the deployment of aid by ensuring effective operation of all key Yemeni ports which are the country’s lifeline.

The deal had not been made to help the militias gain time to reinforce and fortify their military bastions and recruit new elements to Hodeidah thereby undermining international peace efforts.

The UN should shoulder its responsibility towards holding Houthis accountable for the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Yemen.

It should also be noted that the UAE’s actions as part of the Coalition are undertaken at the request of the legitimate Government of Yemen, in full accordance with international law.

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