(UR) Yemen— In the wake of Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes that killed at least 150 mourners at a funeral in Yemen on Saturday — an operation which, according to one witness, left the targeted area a “lake of blood” — the United Nations’ chief human rights official on Monday said the failure of U.N. members to investigate Saudi Arabia for war crimes is creating “a climate of impunity” in Yemen.
“The Human Rights Council’s inability to take decisive action by setting up an international investigation is contributing to a climate of impunity,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said, “and violations continue to occur on a regular basis.”
“Such outrageous attacks cannot be allowed to continue,” he added.
Another U.N. official, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed — envoy for Yemen — expressed concern over the situation on Monday, calling on “all political leaders and their supporters to refrain from harming peace and security.”
The result of Saturday’s attack, which took place in the capital city of Sana’a, was described as such by theAssociated Press: “In the aftermath of the strike, hundreds of body parts were found strewn in and outside the hall. Rescuers collected them in sacks.”
At a press conference over the weekend, the undersecretary of Yemen’s Health Ministry revealed Saudi Arabia was responsible for Saturday’s carnage, claiming one rescuer on the ground likened the targeted area to a “lake of blood” following the bombing.
In a statement, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said the human rights community is “shocked and outraged” by the strikes, and reminded all involved that “under international humanitarian law, they are obliged to protect civilians and civilian infrastructures.” He continued:
“The international community must exert pressure and influence on all parties to the conflict to ensure civilians are protected. This violence against civilians in Yemen must stop immediately.”
Over 10,000 people — more than 4,000 of whom were civilians — have been killed in Yemen since Saudi Arabia launched its campaign against the Houthi rebels in 2015. Increasingly, state officials and international bodies alike are concluding that the Saudis’ actions in Yemen are tantamount to war crimes.
The conflict in Yemen is considered by many to be the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet.
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