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On Yemen, Amnesty For Saleh Hit by Human Rights Committee, Dodged by SC

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 -- Yemen was addressed by the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Committee on Thursday. The former, with power, declined to comment on Ali Saleh's impunity. The latter, without power, said that the Amnesty Law should be repealed.

  On March 14, Inner City Press reported on an ill-attended Human Right Committee session at which Yemen's new Human Rights Minister Hooriah Mashour said, among other things, that there had been "two thousand martyrs" during the uprising against Saleh, and that the US had killed civilians with drones at Majala. Click here for Inner City Press' March 14 report.

  On March 29 when the Human Rights Committee released its "concluding observations" on Yemen, Inner City Press asked Commissioners Krister Thelin and Lazhari Bouzid what they had done with the 2000 casualty figure, much high than that used for example by the UN, on Saleh's impunity and the US drone issue.

  Thelin said that "each government is responsible for what happens" on its territory. Apparently they will not be reviewing the US drone strikes, even as the UN itself under Peacekeeping chief Herve "The Drone" Ladsous is moving toward using unmanned surveillance vehicles, as first exposed by Inner City Press last week.

  On amnesty, Thelin directed Inner City Press to Paragraph 6 of the concluding observations, which says "The State party should repeal Amnesty Law No. 1 of 2012."

  By contrast, when Inner City Press asked outgoing Security Council president Mark Lyall Grant about Saleh, he replied that he did not want to discuss any particular individual:

Inner City Press: On Yemen, in the Presidential Statement, where it says those who violated human rights should be held accountable. How should people read that with regard to Ali Saleh, the former President, who’s been widely charged with human rights violations, and on Mali it’s said that these ECOWAS Presidents couldn’t fly in, that they were blocked at the airport, the town of Kidal is about to fall. Does the Council.... do you expect during your Presidency to take up Mali again, is that your information, and what’s happening in terms of the Council and this coup d’état in Mali?

Amb Lyall Grant: I don’t want to comment on latest developments in Mali because I’ve been in the Council all morning so I’m not abreast of the latest developments on that. On the question of accountability, yes, the Presidential Statement made clear that all those guilty of crimes against humanity for acts of terrorism should be held accountable. That is the principled view of all Council members and it is included in the Presidential Statement because we believe it should apply in all cases. I don’t want to comment though on particular individuals in the case of Yemen. Thank you."

  So when will the Human Rights Committee take up Mali? This session, it considered Cape Verde which has not filed any report in 18 years. Thelin noted that the Cape Verde Permanent Representative, a fixture around the UN, did come to the session, but couldn't answer the questions. The session was open, but how many people or journalists attended?

Footnote: On Turkmenistan, Inner City Press asked Thelin if the UN's projection that opening a regional center in the country would help to open it up, and if UNDP programs on human rights lead to improvements the Committee can see. He called Turkmenistan still a closed society, and said that UNDP programs have "no direct effect" on the human rights issues the Committee reviews. Your tax dollars at work.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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