People and parties who are responsible for atrocities in Yemen should be held accountable for their actions and brought to justice, says Save the Children.
The organisation welcomes the findings of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, whose report was launched in Geneva today. The report highlights that parties to the raging conflict committed 'a host of possible war crimes', many of which have directly impacted or even targeted the lives of girls and boys.
The persistent impunity for those responsible for these abuses, including grave violations against children, is not acceptable as the conflict is well in its fifth year. The violations include crimes through airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, arbitrary killings and detention, torture and sexual violence, according to the team that investigated the situation in Yemen for the UN Security Council.
Tamer Kirolos, Country Director of Save the Children said:
"It's unacceptable that those responsible for the killing, rape and other grave violations against thousands of Yemeni girls and boys are yet to face any consequences. The report even notes the use of starvation as a weapon of war, resulting in thousands of girls and boys facing severe malnutrition. Children are not only dying from bombs and bullets, they are being smothered silently because they are denied food. Girls in particular often eat last and least, and are at heightened risk of sexual violence in conflict like this.
"Our teams are seeing the results of this terrible conflict every single day - children are coming in sick, malnourished, sometimes too weak to eat. They're dying of lack of clean and safe water, and medicines. Our staff is supporting children to live but as long as this conflict rages, we can only help them to stay alive, not support them in building a future free from death and discrimination.
"The group of experts has shed a painful light on possible war crimes but that is currently where their remit ends. They must be given a more powerful mandate to go further.
"We're calling upon Canada and other member states, particularly those on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to renew and strengthen the mandate for the Group of Eminent Experts, during their next meeting on Yemen[i]. This would be an important step towards enhancing accountability for Yemen's girls and boys. The mandate should include a strong focus on securing evidence in the country, additional public reporting, and both child and gender specific expertise - particularly critical to ensure these dimensions are addressed and survivors and victims of violations do not face barriers to justice because of their age or gender. There should be independent, credible investigations into all alleged violations of international humanitarian law, and perpetrators need to be held to account.
"Furthermore, we strongly call upon all parties to support all steps to avoid harm to civilians and civilian buildings such as schools and hospitals, as well as to ensure full access for humanitarian goods and services across the country. Save the Children urges all parties to the conflict to find a lasting solution to the conflict in Yemen - only peace can put an end to the suffering of the Yemeni girls and boys and their families."
[i] To be held on 11th of September in New York, during the 42nd Human Rights Council.