KSA accused of using bribes and threats to end UN probe on war crimes committed in Yemen: Report
Riyadh reportedly bribed Togo and made threats against Indonesia to make sure the two UNHRC member states voted against extending the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen
By News Desk - December 02 2021

Yemenis dig graves for children killed when their bus was hit during a Saudi-led coalition air strike that targeted Dahyan market in Saada province. 10 August, 2018. (Photo credit: AFP)

An investigative report published by British media on 2 December has revealed that Saudi authorities used “incentives and threats” to put an end to UN investigations into human rights abuses committed during the war in Yemen.

Citing politicians, diplomats and activists, The Guardian has confirmed that Riyadh carried out a secret lobbying campaign last month targeting current member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

The intimidation campaign by Kingdom officials reportedly started days before the the UNHRC was set to vote on a motion to extend the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) on Yemen.

According to the report, the African nation of Togo was allegedly offered funds to support “anti terrorism” activities in exchange for turning their back on the GEE. On the other hand, Indonesia was reportedly threatened that if it voted in favor of the extension, Riyadh “would create obstacles” for Indonesians Muslims to visit the holy city of Mecca.

On 7 October Saudi Arabia got its wish as UNHRC members defeated the resolution, proposed by the Netherlands, to give the GEE another two years to monitor the atrocities committed during the Kingdom’s six-year war in Yemen.

The resolution was defeated by a simple majority of 21-18, with seven countries abstaining.

Togo and Indonesia voted against the resolution, a departure from their 2020 position when the two countries abstained. Suspiciously, around the same time Togo announced that it would open a new embassy in Saudi Arabia.

Members of the UNHRC serve for a period of three years. Of the countries that served both in 2020 and 2021, four changed their votes from abstention to “no” on the Yemen resolution: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Senegal and Togo.

In 2017, the council voted to convene a team of experts to investigate possible war crimes and human rights violations in Yemen. Saudi Arabia initially supported the effort, but as the investigation started to unearth atrocities committed by the Saudi-led coalition, Riyadh started looking for ways to terminate the GEE’s mandate.

According to a UN report realeased on 23 November, the death toll from the Saudi-led war in Yemen will reach 377,000 by the end of 2021.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) estimated that 70 percent of those killed would be children under the age of five.

Meanwhile, 60 percent of the deaths are the result of indirect causes, such as hunger and preventable diseases, with the remainder a result of direct causes like front-line combat and air raids.

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