GENEVA, Oct. 11 – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday reiterated his urgent call for an independent, international inquiry into violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Yemen, describing the attack on a funeral in Sanaa last Saturday as “outrageous”.
“Since the beginning of this conflict in Yemen, weddings, marketplaces, hospitals, schools – and now mourners at a funeral – have been hit, resulting in massive civilian casualties and zero accountability for those responsible,” the High Commissioner said in statement obtained by NY.
“This deadly attack comes just weeks after the UN Human Rights Council, for the second year in a row, dismissed my call to take decisive action to create an international, independent investigative body to look into extremely serious alleged violations of international law, including possible war crimes, in Yemen,” he said.
“The Human Rights Council’s inability to take decisive action by setting up an international investigation is contributing to a climate of impunity, and violations continue to occur on a regular basis. Such outrageous attacks cannot be allowed to continue,” Zeid said in the statement.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ statement also cited eyewitness testimony, hospital records and other information gathered by UN Human Rights staff that said two airstrikes, about seven to eight minutes apart, hit the packed Al Kubra hall in Sanaa on Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of people were gathered at the well-known community hall for the funeral of the father of a senior official. It is unclear how many people were present but the hall has a capacity of up to 1,000 people. Witnesses described a hall packed with families, including children, and many were killed.
“The international community has a legal and moral duty to react robustly to the increasingly horrific levels of civilian casualties in Yemen, just as it has in many other situations,” Zeid said.
“We take note of the recent letter sent by Saudi Arabia to the Security Council indicating its readiness to take corrective and appropriate measures to ensure accountability, including the release of the results of the ongoing investigations into this incident, in the near future,” Zeid added.