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Saudi-led coalition accuses United Nations of bias in Yemen

Saudi-led coalition accuses United Nations of bias in Yemen

Three experts working for the UN's Human Rights Council have said the governments of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia may have been responsible for war crimes during its battle with Shia rebels.

The 41-page report from the so-called Group of Experts, established by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, cataloged acts of violence that occurred between September 2014 and June 2018. "However, the real figures are likely to be significantly higher", the report says.

Foreign powers, including the United Kingdom, also come in for criticism for helping to arm the coalition and for the damage caused by air strikes.

The U.N. investigators said individuals in the coalition and the internationally recognized Yemeni government, which the coalition and Washington are seeking to restore to power, may have conducted attacks that could "amount to war crimes".

Media captionThe conflict in Yemen has been raging for years - but what is it all about?

It accused the "de facto authorities" - an allusion to rebel leaders that control some of the country's most populated western and northern areas - of crimes including arbitrary detentions, torture and child recruitment.

The Associated Press reported previous year that the U.A.E. and its allied militias were running a network of secret detention facilities, beyond the control of Yemeni government.

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It also said that the coalition's inspection procedures at the main port of Hodeidah had a "chilling effect on commercial shipping", that have resulted in limiting food shipments into Yemen, where 8.4 million people face starvation, it said.

"Despite the severity of the situation we continue to see a complete disregard for the people in Yemen", says one of the report's authors, Charles Garraway. The Saudi-led coalition said it was targeting rebels who had fired a missile at Saudi Arabia.

The OHCHR report noted that coalition airstrikes - which hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and medical facilities - have caused most direct civilian casualties. "Our goal is to reduce this tragedy, and to get it to the United Nations -brokered table as quickly as possible", Mr. Mattis said. Saudi Arabia has said it will investigate the attack.

The Saudi-led alliance has carried out a campaign of thousands of air strikes and restricted imports into Yemen.

"I urge all parties to take the necessary measures to remove disproportionate restrictions on the safe and expeditious entry into Yemen of humanitarian supplies and other goods indispensable to the civilian population, and the movement of persons including through Sana'a International Airport in compliance with international humanitarian law", Jendoubi said.

Mattis pushed back against questions suggesting that Yemeni children had been killed by American weapons, even though a recent report showed that the laser-guided bomb used in the attack was sold to the coalition as part of a government-backed sale of us arms.


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