KIOS-FM

U.N. Report Includes A Long List Of Atrocities In The War In Yemen

Sep 4, 2019
Originally published on September 4, 2019 9:02 am
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

The war in Yemen is complicated, and it has many sides. A U.N. panel says all of those sides are committing war crimes. It also says the countries backing the warring parties could be complicit. Now, this includes the United States, which has been giving logistical support to a Saudi-led coalition that is fighting against rebels who are aligned with Iran. Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The report includes a long list of atrocities in the war in Yemen. The Saudi-led coalition is accused of starving Yemenis as a tactic of war and killing thousands of civilians in airstrikes. The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels are accused of shelling cities and using child soldiers. And all sides face allegations of rape and sexual violence.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHARLES GARRAWAY: There are no clean hands in this contest. Everybody - everybody is responsible.

KELEMEN: That's Charles Garraway, one of the members of the panel commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. He's urging those who back the warring sides - the U.S., France and U.K. on one side, Iran on the other - to use their leverage to end the war. Another panelist, Melissa Parke, echoed that in a news conference in Geneva.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MELISSA PARKE: It's clear that the continued supply of weapons to parties to the conflict is perpetuating the conflict and prolonging the suffering of the Yemeni people. And that's why we're urging member states to no longer supply weapons to parties to the conflict.

KELEMEN: The U.S. has argued that it needs to support the Saudis to counter Iranian influence in Yemen. The Saudis entered the war in March of 2015 to try to restore a government that was ousted by Houthis. As the war drags on, factions in the Saudi-led coalition have started fighting each other, committing new atrocities. That worries Garraway.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GARRAWAY: That redoubles - redoubles the obligations on the international community to step in and do something about this.

KELEMEN: The U.N. panel has drawn up a secret list of individuals that are implicated in war crimes in hopes that someday perpetrators will be held to account. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF COLLAPSE UNDER THE EMPIRE'S "SHOULDERS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.