UN peace conference on Yemen indefintely postponed

UN peace conference on Yemen indefintely postponed

[JURIST] Three Yemeni officials on Sunday said they were notified that the UN-sponsored peace conference designed to establish peace in Yemen has been indefinitely postponed. The conference was scheduled to begin [Al Jazeera report] on Thursday, and no new date has been set. Sultan al-Atwani, an aide to exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, stated that the talks were “postponed because the Houthis did not indicate their commitment to implement the Security Council resolution,” [Reuters report]. He also said that intensified fighting in Aden, Taiz, Dalea and Shabwa make it difficult and dangerous to go to Geneva. The postponement of these talks, which were intended to end weeks of heavy fighting and airstrikes, has been a heavy blow to efforts to end the fighting in the region. The postponement was confirmed [AP report] by a UN official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and thus made the statement under the condition of anonymity.

The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has sparked significant international concern. Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] condemned the targeting [JURIST report] of the Ibn Khaldun Hospital in Yemen by combatants. Also last month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged Yemeni combatants [JURIST report] to report attacks resulting in civilian casualties so that they can be investigated and international human rights law can be upheld. Also in April the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] on behalf of US citizens still in Yemen against the US State Department and the Department of Defense for allegedly failing to launch an evacuation plan. The same week, in a unanimous vote, Pakistani lawmakers passed a resolution [JURIST report] to stay out of the conflict in Yemen, despite pleas from Saudi Arabia for aid in the form of warships, aircraft and ground troops. Earlier in April, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Chaloka Beyani urged [JURIST report] the international community to prepare itself for the “massive displacement and humanitarian crisis” that could come as a result of civilians fleeing the fighting in Yemen, stating that they must prepare for a worst case scenario.