U.S. Explanation of Position on Yemen – HRC36 Resolution L.4

A/HRC/36/L.4

Explanation of Position by the United States of America as delivered by

Theodore Allegra, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 29, 2017

The United States is pleased to be able to join consensus on a resolution that addresses the human rights situation in Yemen. We are especially grateful for the tireless efforts of the Arab Group sponsors and the core group of the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Ireland to reach this important result.  We believe the Council speaking with one voice on Yemen is essential to address the worsening situation there, and to encourage the parties involved in the conflict to come to the table – not to mention for the integrity of this institution.  We welcome OHCHR’s continued reporting and technical assistance efforts, and are pleased this resolution continues those efforts, including through the provision of assistance to Yemen’s national Commission of Inquiry.

The international community faces several urgent tasks in Yemen including the protection, safety, and security of civilians as well as expanding humanitarian access and relief in response to the rise of infectious diseases, possibility of famine, and growing water scarcity.

The United States remains deeply concerned by the continuing deterioration of the situation in Yemen, including the thousands of casualties from the conflict.  Yemen currently is plagued by the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, which has put 20.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and led to more than 730,000 suspected cases of cholera. Yemen has the highest number of people at risk of famine and suffering from cholera in the world. These tragic consequences are the result of this tragic conflict, and we remain deeply saddened by the unnecessary loss of life and devastation in the country.

We call on all sides to take all feasible measures to protect civilians. The United States is hopeful the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts will bring a balanced approach to help shape the behavior of those engaged in this conflict on the ground. We strongly urge all parties to allow unhindered access for commercial supplies and humanitarian aid, including food, fuel, and medicine. We condemn any unlawful use of child soldiers, and we share concerns about detainees and missing persons.

With respect to the resolution’s references to human rights law and international humanitarian law, and also the reference to recruitment and use of children, we wish to reiterate that all parties in Yemen are responsible for respecting their applicable international obligations and commitments in the conflict, including their obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, as applicable.

Even as we attempt to address the harmful impacts of this conflict, we continue to underscore the importance of a lasting and comprehensive political settlement that ends the conflict. We urge all parties to work closely with the UN Envoy towards this end and to abide by all Security Council resolutions on Yemen.

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