Saudis used ‘incentives and threats' to shut down UN investigation in Yemen

Asia's Tech News Daily

Saudis used ‘incentives and threats’ to shut down UN investigation in Yemen
© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Saudi Arabia used “incentives and threats” as part of a lobbying campaign to shut down a UN investigation of human right violations committed by all sides in the Yemen conflict, according to sources with close knowledge of the matter.

The Saudi effort ultimately succeeded when the UN human rights council (HRC) voted in October against extending the independent war crimes investigation. The vote marked the first defeat of a resolution in the Geneva body’s 15-year history.

Speaking to the Guardian, political officials and diplomatic and activist sources with inside knowledge of the lobbying push described a stealth campaign in which the Saudis appear to have influenced officials in order to guarantee defeat of the measure.

Saudis used ‘incentives and threats’ to shut down UN investigation in Yemen
© Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA A Yemeni passes portraits of slain Houthi fighters before being placed on their graves at a cemetery on 29 November.

Related: ‘We have failed Yemen’: UN human rights council ends war crime probe

In one case, Riyadh is alleged to have warned Indonesia – the most populous Muslim country in the world – that it would create obstacles for Indonesians to travel to Mecca if officials did not vote against the 7 October resolution.

In another case, the African nation of Togo announced at the time of the vote that it would open a new embassy in Riyadh, and receive financial support from the kingdom to support anti-terrorism activities.

Both Indonesia and Togo had abstained from the Yemen resolution in 2020. This year, both voted against the measure.

The resolution was defeated by a simple majority of 21-18, with seven countries abstaining. In 2020, the resolution passed by a vote of 22-12, with 12 members abstaining.

“That kind of swing – from 12 no’s to 21 – does not just happen,” said one official.

John Fisher, the Geneva director of Human Rights Watch, said: “It was a very tight vote. We understand that Saudi Arabia and their coalition allies and Yemen were working at a high level for some time to persuade states in capitals through a mixture of threats and incentives, to back their bids to terminate the mandate of this international monitoring mechanism.”

He added: “The loss of the mandate is a huge blow for accountability in Yemen and for the credibility of the human rights council as a whole. For a mandate to have been defeated by a party to the conflict for no reason other than to evade scrutiny for international crimes is a travesty.”

Representatives from the Indonesian and Saudi embassies in Washington and the foreign ministry in Togo did not respond to a request for comment.

The HRC first voted to establish a team of experts who would investigate possible violations of humanitarian law and human rights in Yemen in 2017.

Yemen’s civil war had intensified in 2015 after a coalition led by Saudi Arabia, using weapons procured in the US and UK, intervened on behalf of the internationally recognised Yemeni government against Houthi rebels. More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict and 4 million have been displaced, activist groups say.

Saudi Arabia, which is not a voting member of the UN human rights council, initially supported the effort.

Related: ‘The Saudis couldn’t do it without us’: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war

The experts – known as the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE) – were never granted permission to travel to Yemen, but their reports grew more “damning” over the years, one person who closely followed the matter said.

In 2020, the GEE recommended for the first time that the international community focus their attention on accountability for potential war crimes. They included five recommendations, including that the matter be referred to the prosecutor of the international criminal court by the UN security council.

One person who followed the matter said: “I think that must have been the trigger moment when the Saudi coalition realised this is really going too far.”

Nations that supported the measure, which was led by the Netherlands, were apparently caught off guard by the Saudis’ aggressive tactics.

During the negotiations, none of the countries that would later change votes from abstaining to “no” raised objections to the resolution, which differed from the 2020 version in only one substantive way: it sought to extend the mandate to two years instead of one.

Sources said it was not until about a week before vote that “alarm bells” began to ring for proponents of the measure. when they grasped that the Saudi campaign “was very different from previous years” – in part because Saudi had engaged with policy makers in individual capitals around the world.

“You could see the whole thing shift, and that was a shock,” said one person familiar with the matter. Usually, voting positions are known days before a vote is taken. But in October, member countries resisted sharing what their final position would be, which proponents saw as a worrying sign that some countries were under intense pressure.

Supporters of the resolution decided to proceed with the vote, even though its outcome was uncertain.

“For the Saudis to win this battle at the expense of the Yemeni people is terrible. But it’s also a textbook case for other countries like the Russia and China to torpedo any other investigation. It really shook everyone to the core. The scrutiny should be on those members of the council that couldn’t withstand the pressure,” said one person close to the matter.

Members of the HRC serve for a period of three years. Of the countries that served both in 2020 and 2021, four changed their votes from abstention to “no” on the Yemen resolution: Indonesia, Bangladesh, Senegal and Togo.

The vote came when the foreign minister of Togo was on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, and coincided with the announcement of the new embassy in Riyadh.Togo also announced that it would be receiving counter-terrorism funding from the Saudi-based International Center for the Fight against Extremist Ideology.

In the case of Indonesia, it is understood that a Saudi Arabia communicated that Indonesian Covid vaccination certificates might not be recognised for Indonesians traveling to Mecca if the country did not reject the measure. One observer said the alleged threat showed Saudis were willing to “instrumentalise” their access to a holy place.

One week after the vote, the UAE, an ally of Saudi Arabia in the Yemen conflict, invited Senegal to sign a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint Emirati-Senegalese business council. The aim of the council was for the UAE chamber of commerce to “boost cooperation” between the “two friendly countries”.

The UAE did not respond to a request for comment.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

British PM denies lying about lockdown party

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday “categorically” denied claims by his former chief aide that he lied to parliament about a Downing Street party held during a strict lockdown. ... Read more »

What is the Brat diet? Here's which foods to eat and when you may need it

© Provided by Woman&Home Banana on toast as part of the Brat diet plan The Brat diet has long been recommended to help those experiencing tummy issues and works by ... Read more »

Stephen Lawrence murder suspect in court over drugs plot confiscation order

One of the suspects in the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence has complained he cannot be moved to an open prison after failing to pay £90,000 he made from a ... Read more »

Small business confidence plunges to lowest since pandemic began amid Omicron chill

© Provided by Financial Post A pedestrian checks the hours of a magazine store in Montreal which was closed on Sunday because of restrictions aimed at curbing coronavirus hospitalizations. Small ... Read more »

The Best Smartphones

Expert choice We all covet those little rectangles in our pockets. Smartphones play a massive part in our day-to-day lives, but buying the perfect smartphone can be an arduous task. ... Read more »

Ajax starlet with ‘unprecedented' talent backed to join Man City amid Tottenham rumours

© PA Images Ajax players Jurrien Timber and Edson Alvarez celebrate victory over RKC in Dutch Eredivisie The latest talent off the Ajax production line has been tipped to join ... Read more »

Soccer-Pogba 'present' and ready to return in two weeks, Rangnick says

© Reuters/ALBERTO LINGRIA FILE PHOTO: Champions League – Group F – Atalanta v Manchester United (Reuters) – Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is two weeks away from returning to action ... Read more »

What time is President Joe Biden's press conference?

© AP President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, March 25, 2021 – AP President Joe Biden will hold a ... Read more »

Liam Broady admits Nick Kyrgios made him feel 'stupid' in Australian Open drubbing

Even an early exit from the Australian Open wasn’t enough to turn Liam Broady against first-round foe Nick Kyrgios despite his mid-match antics, although the Brit admitted his opponent made ... Read more »

Richard Bland interview: Dreaming of Masters invitation and ‘special' plans to defend title in 500th event

Five times Richard Bland has lost his European Tour card, and five times he has won it back. Coming off the back of a brilliant year where he became the ... Read more »

The Best Fungal Nail Treatment

Expert choice Warm outdoor runs, balmy barefoot afternoons, swimming baths and paddling pools… blissful, eh? They’re also among the main ways to catch a fungal nail infection, which the British ... Read more »

Treasury plans crackdown on ‘misleading' cryptocurrency ads

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Jérôme Favre/EPA The government has unveiled plans to crack down on misleading cryptocurrency ads by making them subject to the same regulations as marketing ... Read more »

Tin whistles and tears, as thousands gather for funeral of Ashling Murphy

The pupils of Ashling Murphy were in school with their teacher last week. On Tuesday, they were in a church for her funeral. The body of Ms Murphy, a talented ... Read more »

Best Valentine Day UK Spa Breaks to book for Every Budget

© Red Letter Days valentine’s day Valentine’s Day is coming up and there’s no better occasion to treat your loved ones to a spa break. Indulge in massages, facials and ... Read more »

Appeal hearing: Terrorist Breivik refuses to assume responsibility for the July 22 killings

Terrorist Anders Behring Breivik tried to convince Telemark District Court that he would no longer resort to violence if he were to be released. He expressed no remorse for the ... Read more »

Together Energy collapses, leaving 176,000 needing a new supplier

© PA Wire Energy prices Together Energy has become the 26th energy company in just five months to be buried under the weight of soaring gas prices. The business has ... Read more »

MK Dons boost as League One side could seal another move for Luton man

© Provided by Football League World Carabao Cup Third Round – Luton Town v Manchester United MK Dons have been flying high in the third tier so far this season ... Read more »

FedEx driver launches package at front door like an NFL quarterback

Talk about taking it to the house. A San Francisco FedEx driver has gone viral for slinging a package from his truck to a doorstep with the accuracy and speed ... Read more »

Hochul has $21 million in the bank to run for full term as NY governor

Gov. Kathy Hochul has raised $21.6 million since announcing she would run for a full term. Stephen Yang ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul banked over $21 million in her war ... Read more »

The best charcuterie boards of 2022, per ‘The Big Board' blogger

Pictured: Sandy Coughlin. Photography courtesy of the Reluctant Entertainer Blog. It’s time to whip out a wooden board and a spread of creamy brie and gourmet gouda cheese. But, if ... Read more »

Two kids, aged 12 & 15, and two women, 18 & 40, arrested after man stabbed and rushed to hospital

THREE adults and two children aged 12 and 15 have been arrested after a man was stabbed. Police were called to York on Saturday following reports of an assault on ... Read more »

Credit Suisse names wealth executive as new sustainability chief - memo

© Reuters/ARND WIEGMANN The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen in Zurich By Simon Jessop and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi LONDON (Reuters) – Credit Suisse has appointed wealth management ... Read more »

Britain's Got Talent host Amanda Holden puts on a VERY leggy display

Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon rewarded onlookers with a touch of glamour on Tuesday after dozens of patient fans dismissed the cold in the hope of catching sight of this ... Read more »

BBC boss Tim Davie questions viability of subscription-based alternative to licence fee

The BBC’s director-general has warned that adopting a subscription-based alternative to the licence fee risks creating a “commercial agenda” which would mean a substantial change to the corporation’s output. Tim ... Read more »

Ulrika Jonsson doesn't consider herself 'unlucky in love'

© Bang Showbiz Ulrika Jonsson was happy in her three failed marriages Ulrika Jonsson has insisted she’s never felt “unlucky in love”, despite her three divorces. The Swedish-British presenter – ... Read more »

Together Energy becomes latest household supplier to collapse in gas price storm

Together Energy, which has 176,000 households on its books, has become the latest supplier to collapse in the wake of the soaring cost of gas that is tipped to force ... Read more »

Check out these 32 pitch decks that helped fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and investing raise millions in 2021

© Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision. Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new ... Read more »

Amanda Holden stuns in yellow lace up dress at Britain's Got Talent auditions

AMANDA Holden looked incredible as auditions for the 15 series of Britain's Got Talent kicked off in London. The 50-year-old commanded attention in a yellow dress with lace up detailing ... Read more »

Rechter CDU-Flügel rechnet mit der pensionierte Kanzlerin ab: «Ein ganzes Land hat sich von Merkel täuschen lassen»

Die sogenannte Werteunion rechnet mit der pensionierten Kanzlerin Angela Merkel ab. Auch der ehemalige Verfassungsschutz-Chef Hans-Georg Massen übte sich zum Thema Meinungsäusserung in Kritik. © Bereitgestellt von Blick «Ein ganzes ... Read more »

Read Microsoft Gaming CEO's email to staff about the Activision Blizzard acquisition

As part of Microsoft’s plan to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, the software giant has created a Microsoft Gaming division. Phil Spencer, former head of Xbox, will now lead ... Read more »

Brighton bee bricks initiative may do more harm than good, say scientists

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Papilio/Alamy An initiative in Brighton aimed at helping protect the bee population could do more harm than good, scientists have warned. The council in ... Read more »

Ted Vines: 12-year-old killed in Lincolnshire car crash on way to play football named

© Family handout/Lincolnshire Police Ted Vines, 12, was killed in a car crash on his way to play football in Lincolnshire – Family handout/Lincolnshire Police A 12-year-old boy killed in ... Read more »

Rangers' next signing? Scott Burns reveals that Gers now want Championship gem they've scouted

© Provided by Transfer Tavern Ibrox Glasgow Rangers Rangers are among the clubs eyeing teenage prodigy Zak Lovelace, according to The Daily Record‘s Scott Burns.  The lowdown The youngster, who ... Read more »

Timo Werner says 'he doesn't know why Chelsea fans support him so much' in emotional interview

Timo Werner has not hit the heights expected of him during his time at Chelsea. The German forward was signed in 2020 in a £47.5 million deal from RB Leipzig. ... Read more »

Repairs, insurance and good publicity: How Storm Christoph hit flood-hit communities one year on

This time last year, Clare Niven was busy moving stock around her clothes shop in Cheshire. It was not for customers; her shop was shut due to lockdown. It was ... Read more »

Happy Death Day 3: Jason Blum gives update on horror threequel

Jasom Blum, Producer for Blumhouse Productions, has shared a minor update regarding the third film in the Happy Death Day series.  Happy Death Day 3 is supposedly in the works, as Blum has tweeted that “Something ... Read more »

Is Brighton vs Chelsea on TV? Kick-off time, channel and how to watch Premier League fixture

© PA Wire Romelu Lukaku has been backed to find the right balance at Chelsea (Martin Rickett/PA) – PA Wire Brighton host Chelsea in the evening kick-off at the Amex ... Read more »

Ringleader of gang who kidnapped and assaulted Kevin Lunney named as Alan Harte

© QIH Kevin Lunney THE HIGH COURT has lifted an order preserving the anonymity of one of the men convicted of kidnapping and inflicting serious injuries on businessman Kevin Lunney. ... Read more »

Partner of Ashling Murphy describes her as a ‘shining light'

The partner of tragic teacher Ashling Murphy has described her as a “shining light” who was always willing to help others and put herself last. Ryan Casey paid tribute to ... Read more »

Parents risk fines after mistakenly over claiming child benefits

THOUSANDS of parents have been warned they could face demands to give back child benefit – and there could be huge fines for failing to repay. Mums or Dads earning ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic