21st September 2022, Yemen: We have closely followed and monitored the escalation of human rights violations and abuses in Yemen, especially those affecting the rights to life, physical integrity, freedom, and dignity, and the prohibition of torture. These escalations in human rights violations and abuses require strong national human rights protection mechanisms, including those concerned with documentation, monitoring, and early, and prompt comprehensive investigation in all grave violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in order to preserve the rights of victims and support the process of redress and reparation.
Human Rights violations and abuses continue as the conflict prolongs, resulting in increased toll of deaths and injuries mainly due to explosive weapons. Additionally, the levels of sexual and gender-based violence, child recruitment, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and torture increased, and the level of suppression of freedoms and restrictions on the work of civil society hightened.
As civil society representatives, we have called since 2011 to establish an independent national committee to investigate alleged human rights violations. The Yemeni state responded by decreeing the mandate of the National Commission for Investigating Alleged Human Rights Violations in 2012 and naming its members in 2015. In 2016, the National Commission started its fieldwork through 60 legal human rights observers nationwide, and was able to document and investigate 23,400 incidents of violations and abuses that claimed the lives of more than 40,000 victims of both sexes throughout Yemen. The National Commission follows legal investigation mechanisms in line with international standards for the protection of human rights. It has become an iconic and important national institution that plays a vital role in safeguarding and protecting human rights in Yemen, and increasing the opportunities for accountability, as well as, reparation and compensation mechanisms.
As civil society organizations, we have witnessed the great challenges faced by the National Commission, such as the lack of resources, the delay in providing technical assistance, and the lack of response from the parties to the conflict to their inquiries. We felt proud of having a dedicated national team that is overcoming difficult, dangerous, and rough circumstances to document violations and abuses.
We believe in the important role played by the National Commission to reach victims and information, and in their ability to make a clear difference in revealing the truth and contributing to redress for victims, which is the goal pursued by the Human Rights Council and all national, regional and international protection frameworks.
We as a such call on members of the Human Rights Council to take into account the following recommendations:
1. Continue to provide technical assistance and support to the National Commission effectively avoiding delays, and raising its funding allocations, to support its continuation in the monitoring and investigation of human rights violations and abuses in a professional manner, and to provide it with specialized expertise in explosive weapons, gender, satellite imagery analysis, and other disciplines that the committee needs.
2. Support the process of redress for victims in Yemen and call for the improvement of women's access to justice in particular by supporting training as per international standards to judiciary personnel on dealing with human rights violations and abuses, forming a legal police unit to protect judges and ensure enforcement of judgments. In addition, supporting the revival of the Judicial Commission for Inspection and the National Commission for Combating Corruption.
3. Support establishment of national mechanisms working on reparations and compensation, including the establishment of a special fund for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
4. Emphasize the importance of partnership between the National Commission and the civil society organizations including feminist and women-led organizations.
Issued by the organizations signed below.