Speech at UNHRC, Genève, June 16th, 2017
Table of Contents
- 1. Which Human Rights in Yemen?
1 Which Human Rights in Yemen?
1.1 27 Months of relentless Aggression
Since almost two years and three months, Yemen is the target of a military air, land and sea campaign mostly directed against the civilian population. The main culprit is Saudi Arabia, “distinguished member” of this HR Council, in a “coalition” with the other Gulf Cooperation Council members (with the notable exception of Oman) and some other Saudi clients (this coalition is hereafter called the ‘Saudico’). The protagonists are among the world’s richest countries and take assistance from hordes of mercenaries from various corners of the world in their sinister project. Also to their help they have AQAP, the Al-Qaeda outlet of Yemen, immensely thriving in this recruitment friendly environment.
1.2 The first and second Victims
If, as claimed by the ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus –
“In war, truth is the first casualty”
then the second victim of war must be the Universal Human Rights.
The war of aggression against the people of Yemen has transformed the rights to life and security into distant privileges for the lucky few.
The most fundamental human rights have become targets of destruction:
- The right to food security – while bombing farm lands and food storage facilities
- The right to medical care – while bombing the hospitals and primary health care centres…
- The right to education – while bombing the schools and universities…
And so forth. Violations of the Human Rights have become the norm and not the exception due to the war of aggression.
1.3 The Result of Aggression
As a result of the bombing and the naval blockade, an appalling catastrophe is unravelling in Yemen, this ancient country, culture and people of the Southern Arabic Peninsula.
- 17 millions live in food insecurity, of which 7M are facing famine
- Breakdown of health care services and access to clean water, with cholera epidemics spreading fast.
- Destruction of Past, i.e. World heritage from one of the world’s most ancient cultures
- Destruction of Future, i.e. Child famine, Education, Health Care
- Massive destruction of infrastructure
Keep in mind, this catastrophe is entirely man made! It is all about egregious war crimes!
1.4 The Why and the Who
What had the Yemenis done to Saudi Arabia to provoke such wild wrath and destructive barbarity?
They had ousted ex-interim president Hadi, a pro Saudi stooge clinging to power, but lacking the necessary integrity, credibility and legitimacy for taking the country out of its actual period of political turmoil.
Hadi’s response to his ousting was to – from his exile – request the Saudis to bomb him back to his fake presidency.
The Saudis consider Yemen as their own backyard. Claims to sovereignty and acts of independence are not acceptable. Even worse, manifestations of democracy by the Yemeni people and its leadership are very threatening for the Saudis, as it could have a spill over effect on its own people, endangering their cleptocrat dynasty itself.
It is a well established fact that the US and the UK have been aiding and abetting in Saudi Arabia’s destructive designs in Yemen since the very start of the conflict and even before. They have the same problem with an independent Yemen as the Saudis have, and much for the same reasons.
In addition, their huge arms exports to SA and other petro-dynasties serve the double purpose of reaping immense profits for the mighty agents of the “deep state” and the “military industrial complex” and for the redistribution of arms to terrorist groups, whenever these can be used as “assets” for their geopolitical imperial designs. This is a very cheap way to fight adversaries of the US/UK/West in the region, since the Gulf Oil Dynasties pay the bill, mostly in the form of cheap oil.
The remaining Western countries are either hapless bystanders or discrete arms exporters to the aggressors, like is the case of Sweden.
1.5 Hijacking the Narrative
The reaction to this ongoing barbarian destruction and killing spree has been rather lame in the Western Main Stream Media and at the political leadership level in the US/UK/EU
One reason for this is that the Saudico and the West have been extremely successful in planting a false Narrative on the reasons for the conflict, not only in the main stream media, but also within the International community itself as we shall see.
The UNSC Resolution #2216 laid the groundwork for creating this deceitful Narrative. This resolution has been a disaster for Yemen by confounding victim and aggressor, and by giving the aggressor free reins in the savage destruction of Yemen.
1.6 UNSC Res. #2216 – The Resolution of Shame
On April 14Th 2015, the Saudico bombing campaign had lasted for three weeks, without any UN mandate. It had already led to the killing of more than 800 civilians, among them many children, as well as immense destruction of civilian targets. It constituted a clear cut breach of International Law.
That day, the UNSC unanimously adopted (except for the Russian Federation, which abstained) Resolution #2216 on Yemen. The resolution text was presented by Jordan, a member of the Saudico aggression-coalition, thus a party in the conflict. The resolution put the entire blame for the conflict on the Houthis, and placed an arms embargo upon them. A travel ban and economical sanctions were also imposed against two Houthi leaders as well as against ex-president Saleh. On the other hand, no reference to the ongoing bombing campaign against Yemen was made. It was not even discussed at the session. Thus, an ongoing war crime in relation to the very subject being discussed was conspicuously ignored.
The US envoy to the UNSC, Ms. Samantha Power, did not refer to the bombing campaign, but stated in a comment to the resolution itself that it
“…shows that the Security Council will take action against those who continue to undermine efforts towards reconciliation”.
“… it (the resolution) affirms that all parties must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, and it urges all parties to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in need…”
Finally she said that there is no alternative to political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all political parties based on the GCC initiative and Yemen’s national Dialogue Conference.
These words were uttered while it was out in plain daylight that her government was fully involved the Saudico “Operation Decisive Storm” with armaments, refuelling services of Saudico jets, logistics and intelligence support as well as military help in enforcing the naval blockade.
The UNSC Resolution #2216 served as a green light for the Saudico to proceed with the onslaught on Yemen. The arms embargo against the “Houthis” has been used as a pretext for taking the civilian population as hostage in yet another way: It has been enforced by means of a naval blockade which, as a minor side effect, drastically hampers the vital supply of food and humanitarian aid. The UNSC Resolution #2216 thus has served as, and continues to serve as, a catalyst of the catastrophically deteriorating humanitarian situation.
The UNSC “Resolution #2216” will go to the History of the UN as one of the absolute low water marks of that organisation. On one hand one makes use of Chapter VII of the Charter against one and only one side in a complicated civil conflict, enforcing an arms embargo only against that side. On the other hand, total silence is observed regarding a – since several weeks – ongoing bombing campaign of intervention by the Saudico, and the massive casualties and horrors that this has incurred on the civilian population. This implied a UN “Carte Blanche” for a continued massacre of the Yemeni civilian population. Unfortunately, the UNSC “Resolution of Shame” #2216 will take the UNSC another step towards irrelevance as representative for “the international Community”.
1.7 The MSM myths of Manipulation
The biased Saudico/US/UK version of the conflict is backed by and further amplified by the Main Stream Media which act as an “opinion cartel” in favour of a narrative suitable for manipulation of the Western public opinion. Thus, a set of standard myths are presented as facts with no further need for checking: It is claimed to be all about a war of religion and also a civil war, sometimes a “proxy war”, where the “rebel” side is backed by Iran, while the other side is represented by the “internationally recognised government”. On the other hand, controllable facts and events that contradict the established narrative are most often simply not reported. The effect of this combination of “lying by commission” and “lying by omission” by the Main Stream Media is to a large extent that of passivizing the Western public opinion regarding the war on Yemen, in spite of the obvious and heinous atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by the aggressors.
The role of the Western mass media in the reporting on Yemen is one of many examples of the unravelling of democracy, moral standards and support for human rights in the West. Swedish media are no exception to this, but Sweden has more to answer for regarding Yemen.
1.8 Sweden’s deplorable role
Sweden wants to be internationally perceived as a “Great Power” of Human rights. After a sustained, high profile lobbying campaign on the promise of being a guardian of Human Rights and International law issues in the Security Council, the country was elected member to the UNSC for the period 2017-2018. Yet Sweden had been silent on Yemen since the start of the US/UK/Saudico aggression against that country and remains so up to this day. The reasons for this are simple. The interests of the Swedish Arms export lobby weigh more than those of the starving Yemeni population. There is a tacit agreement between the Swedish Government and Saudi Arabia not to criticise the latter in exchange for Sweden remaining a stable arms exporter to SA. This literally makes Sweden and Saudi Arabia “brothers in arms”.
1.9 What can be done?
Concerned citizens and governments must act to have this insane, barbarian and criminal war halted! Most importantly the shameful UNSC Resolution #2216 which has been used as a pretext for the atrocities committed against the Yemeni population must be replaced by a resolution demanding immediate end of the war crimes, and intervention against a sovereign country, full member of the UN, with the same rights to sovereignty according to the UN Charter as any other member state.