Webinar: Yemen and Human Rights – the quest for justice

Webinar: Yemen and Human Rights – the quest for justice

ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies, a nongovernmental think-tank based in London, United Kingdom held a symposium to address the conflict in Yemen, highlight war crimes and other human rights abuses, and call for justice.

Speaking to ImpACT was leading human rights lawyer Toby Cadman and Yemeni journalist Naseh Shaker. Naseh, who investigates the suffering of civilians in that war-torn country.

Prominent amongst the findings were that if such truly deplorable and criminal conduct is appeased it will, and does, lead to further criminality in other theatres. Indeed, current events are proving that we should no longer tolerate human rights abuses. Granting one regime the green light to commit war crimes emboldens others.

The UAE crimes extend beyond the abuses of the Yemeni people to include offences against the state of Yemen and its sovereignty, illegally occupying part of that country.
– Robert Oulds, Executive Director of ImpACT International

The symposium established that there is a direct causational link between the ongoing conflicts in Arabia and the fighting in Ukraine. We should seek justice for Yemen. Perpetrators should be brought to the International Criminal Court. Whilst the role of Saudi Arabia has been understood; regretfully, little attention is paid to the numerous human rights abuses committed by the United Arab Emirates and how they have brought Britain into the war.

Saudi shame and UAE atrocities

The participants in the webinar exposed the sportswashing of those countries showing how they seek to obscure the military excesses and human rights abuses carried out by the Saudi and UAE armed forces. The war in Yemen also have seen British companies complicit in the egregious human rights abuses taking place in Yemen.

Ending sportswashing – helping Yemen

With focus on the ownership of English football clubs and their links to the Kremlin, the same standard should apply to regimes that are just as involved in humanitarian abuses as Russia.

The United Arab Emirates has a significant stake in Manchester City F.C. And the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has control over Newcastle United. As well as the English Premier League, leading oligarchs from the UAE, notably Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also have other sporting interests such as ownership of the Godolphin Stables and a veritable empire in horse racing.

The war crimes in Yemen demand that the leading families in Saudi Arabia and the UAE should be sanctioned and their stakes in those sporting institutions stripped from them. When those interests are taken from them, the proceeds earmarked for reconstruction projects in Yemen. The UAE’s commercial and property interests in London, the capital of the United Kingdom, should also be targeted.

It is not enough to just blame those in the military that were simply following orders. The international community should consider their own role in the crimes that have been inflicted upon Yemen. They must recognise as President Obama stated that “Some are to blame but all are responsible.” Following that principle, ImpACT has produced a series of proposals that aim to both implement justice and make the world safer.


ImpACT recommends that the British Government, and other jurisdictions, must take the following action:

ImpACT International recommends that:

  1. Corporate manslaughter:
    1. Those businesses that have been supplying weapons to the Saudis and the UAE may be liable for how those devises are used.
    2. Aiding and abetting the atrocities in Yemen is similarly indictable.
    3. Internationally, competent authorities must investigate and prosecute those who have been supplying Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with weapons.
  2. Sanctions
    1. The culprits are active in the United Kingdom, particularly London’s elite social circles. The British authorities should take action and seize the assets of suspected war criminals and those responsible for the crimes in Yemen.
    2. Those conspiring to commit war crimes should also be subject to sanctions and forfeit assets in countries such as the United Kingdom.
  3. Prosecution
    1. Under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction, the perpetrators of these international crimes can be held accountable in all jurisdictions, not just where their crimes took place.
    2. Activists can prepare indictments that can follow war criminals around the globe.
    3. Human rights law in the UK sits above all other statutes, failing to observe well established and clearly defined rules can lead to legal action. The possibilities of mounting cases based on the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights should be explored.
  4. Nations united against the war
    1. The UN, despite having many valuable arms, is in need of reform. The United Nations Human Rights Council should not be populated with countries that abuse civil liberties. A revised body should likewise be empowered.
    2. The blocking of war crimes and other human rights abuses by the Permanent Members of the United Nations’ Security Council, often the very same states that have been perpetrating the crimes, must cease. The veto is often used to prevent indictments from being referred to the International Criminal Court.
    3. A simple majority vote, not subject to veto, will enable justice to be served and stop the permanent members, or their proxies, frustrating prosecutions.
  5. Ceasefire
    1. The temporary cessation of hostilities gives an opportunity for further evidence and witness statements. International investigators should be granted full access and protection to carry out their work.
    2. ImpACT International hopes that the temporary cessation of hostilities will become permanent.
    3. All sides must disengage, desist, and disarm and abide by any peace deal that is reached.
    4. The United Nations should guarantee any future peace deal and protect the countries neutrality and independence.
  6. Reconstruction and reparations
    1. The sale of Saudi and UAE assets should form part of the international effort to rebuild Yemen.
    2. Debt cancellation. Yemen’s international debt should be forgiven.

Robert Oulds, Executive Director of ImpACT states that, “The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have committed the most egregious human rights abuses and war crimes in Yemen. The UAE crimes extend beyond the abuses of the Yemeni people to include offences against the state of Yemen and its sovereignty, illegally occupying part of that country. They are however not alone.

“Through the pernicious influence and unethical business practices exercised by the UAE and representatives of that state have managed to embroil the United Kingdom in their dirty war. Regretfully, those businesses that have supplied arms to the UAE/Saudi coalition are potentially just as liable and may well find themselves in the dock. It should also be a national scandal that the British Government have also covertly used its armed forces to actively aid and assist Saudi Arabia’s destruction of human lives.”

To watch the full webinar on YouTube click HERE.

– Notes to Editors –

Human rights abuses should be reported to Toby Cadman:

  • Toby, through his legal practice, is gathering evidence to mount legal cases against perpetrators of war crimes. He can be contacted through his chambers Guernica 37

Journalists and editors may wish to contact Naseh Shaker:

  • Naseh is a freelance journalist based in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. He has reported from war-ravaged cities on war crimes, especially when children come under attack. His twitter handle is @Naseh_Shaker


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