Yemen fighting has displaced more than three million people, and more than two thirds of Yemen's population need aid Image Credit: AFP

The United Nations Human Rights Council has finally ended the mandate of the so-called Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen (GEE), who have been investigating alleged abuses in the ongoing war in the country.

In a landmark decision, the 47-member council voted against renewing the mandate of the group. It is the first time the UN’s human rights body has ever rejected a draft resolution since its foundation in 2006. A majority of the member countries voted against the draft resolution to extend the GEE group’s mandate brought forward by several European nations and Canada.

The vote also represents a victory for the Arab Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia as it vindicates the coalition which has systematically and unfairly been accused by the group of alleged violation in Yemen, despite completing evidence that those alleged violations are mostly perpetrated by the Iran-backed Al Houthi militias that continue to wage war against the Yemeni people and the internationally-recognised government.

Worst crisis in recent decades

Since the terrorist group overran the capital Sana’a and overthrew the government in 2014, thousands of Yemenis have been killed and hundreds of thousands been displaced. According to the UN, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is one of the worst in the world in recent decades.

By ending the GEE group’s mandate, it is clear that most of the UN rights body’s members recognised the inconsistency and the often-biased nature of its reports. At numerous occasions, the group exceeded its mandate or proved politically motivated.

The coalition refuted all of the group’s allegations. At the same time, the group ignored the repeated and independently-verified war crimes perpetrated by Al Houthis against the Yemeni people, most recently the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas in the Marib province.

The group also tended to ignore the continuous the militia’s attacks by explosives-laden drones on civilian areas in southern Saudi Arabia, despite worldwide condemnation. The latest terror attack took place late on Friday, one day after the UN Human Rights Council’s vote.

A statement issued by the Arab coalition said 10 people were injured in two explosives-laden drone attacks at King Abdullah airport in the southern Saudi city of Jizan.

Riyadh, meanwhile has been pushing for a peaceful and political end to the war. The Kingdom last year presented an initiative, supported by the GCC, the Arab League, the UN and the European Union, to end the conflict and form a new inclusive government in Yemen. But the plan was rejected by Al Houthis.

The vote to end the GEE group’s mandate is an important step to exert more pressure on Al Houthis and their Iranian sponsors to end the war. The region, and the world, can no longer tolerate the terrorist acts of a proxy militia that holds an important country like Yemen hostage to the self-serving agenda of its foreign sponsor.