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U.S. Underscores Deep Concern Regarding Terrible Humanitarian Toll on Civilians in Yemen
October 2, 2015

U.S. Explanation of Position: Resolution on Technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights
30th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

In joining consensus on the resolution “Technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights,” the United States underscores its deep concern regarding the terrible humanitarian toll of the conflict on civilians.

Our deep concern extends to attacks by all parties that have led to civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure and that have impeded humanitarian relief.‎

We stress the importance of the OHCHR role in providing technical and capacity-building assistance to the Yemen National Independent Commission of Inquiry. OHCHR’s assistance is vital in ensuring that the work of the Commission is conducted in a swift, credible and comprehensive way, to ensure that violations and abuses in Yemen are properly investigated, monitored, and reported to the international community.

We urge all parties to cooperate with and grant access to the Yemeni COI and to the UN in its effort to support the COI. Should the situation of human rights in Yemen fail to improve, we call upon this Council to take further action.

In addition, based on this new resolution, we look forward to a robust, comprehensive and detailed report from the High Commissioner on the situation in Yemen – including on the conduct of all parties in Yemen, and on implementation of this resolution. This will be critical in order to ensure that this urgent situation will get the attention that it requires.

We reiterate the resolution’s call on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, to refrain from unlawful attacks on civilians, to take all feasible measures to minimize – consistent with International Humanitarian Law – civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects, and to allow humanitarian access to the affected population nationwide.

This includes allowing commercial imports and deliveries of fuel to all Yemeni ports.

As a technical matter, with respect to OP2, we note that not all of the listed actions are violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law per se.

Mr. President,

We appreciate the efforts of various delegations to work on this resolution, in particular the delegation of the Netherlands which has worked closely on Yemen at the Council over the past several years. The Council must continue to examine closely the deteriorating human rights situation in Yemen. Thank you.