Campaigners urge UN rights council to probe Yemen

27th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Rights campaigners on Tuesday urged the UN Human Rights Council to order a probe into alleged human rights violations in Yemen, criticising its inaction so far as a "clear failure".

"The exceedingly weak response ... by the United Nations Human Rights Council is a clear failure by the international community to protect innocent civilians against violent attacks and brutal repression," eight international NGOs said in a letter addressed to the president of the Human Rights Council.

Yemen has been rocked by violent protests since January, as opposition groups call for the departure of president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Despite repeated calls by the United States, the United Nations and the leaders of Gulf nations for Saleh to step down and hand power over to his vice president, he has refused to do so.

According to figures obtained from medics, the opposition and tribal sources violence in the country's capital Sanaa have left 173 people dead in one week.

The letter, signed by NGOs including Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights and the World Organisation Against Torture said current measures being discussed by the rights body were "undecisive".

They instead called for the Human Rights Council to heed the advice of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and set up an independent commission of inquiry mandated to investigate "allegations of violations of human rights and incidents which resulted in heavy loss of life and injuries."

"The Human Rights Council is intended to be the preeminent international body mandated to provide protection for victims of rights violations around the world," the campaigners said.

"In the case of Yemen, the Council increasingly appears to instead be adopting a weaker approach to the protection of victims than the other relevant international bodies.

"This failure of political will among states, including the United States, members of the European Union and League of Arab States, to respond appropriately through the Human Rights Council is unacceptable," they added.

© 2011 AFP

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