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Statement – Minority Rights Group International UN Human Rights Council, 33d session

29 September 2016

General Debate – item 10

28-29 September 2016

Thank you Mister President,

Minority Rights Group would like to once more voice its concerns in relation to the human rights and humanitarian situation in Yemen, and specifically that of minorities. Since the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention began in Yemen, the conflict has had tremendous humanitarian consequences on civilians.

One of the most worrying consequences of this conflict has been the polarization of its religious communities, with some being forcibly displaced from cities such as Aden where they have always resided, to others being deliberately targeted and attacked, including in their places of worship. The rise in hate speech and sectarian attacks is one of the weapons that parties have used that will have a much more long-lasting impact on the country and its population, one that would last beyond the duration of this war.

MRG continues to be concerned about the situation of the Muhamasheen, a social minority that has been historically marginalized and discriminated against in Yemen. The war has pushed them to the frontlines and displaced thousands of Muhamasheen from various cities. In Taiz, they continue to be entrapped by conflict, extreme poverty and lack of access to whatever services exist.

Mister President, the voice of this Council is most needed in silenced conflicts, such as the one in Yemen. The failure to protect civilians must be denounced, and crimes must be monitored and reported, both to ensure accountability for past violations and deter further violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

MRG calls on the members of the Council to support independent and effective investigations into suspected violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the Yemen conflict. This includes allegations of indiscriminate attacks on IDP camps, Muhamasheen settlements and targeted attacks against all minorities. MRG also urges the Council to call for the protection of minorities and to condemn all attacks and acts of discrimination against minorities in Yemen today.

I thank you.

Mr. Glenn Payot