On the sidelines of the ongoing UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva, extraordinary seminars examined the dire situation in Yemen, which the UN has called the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world. Elke Fimmen of the Schiller Institute addressed a seminar on the sanctions on March 13, sponsored by the Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV) on March 13, and jointly organized with the German human rights organization “INSAN for Human Rights and Peace”.
The event was chaired and moderated by Dr. Hassan Fartousi, a researcher in international law at the University of Geneva. It also heard from human rights activists Mohammad Abo Taleb and Abdullah Alkebsi from INSAN, who showed the horrendous effects of the illegal sanctions on the population imposed by the Saudi-led coalition, including the fact that it is impossible to seek medical care abroad, at a time when the internal health system is being destroyed. Another panelist, Andrew Feinstein, the executive director of Corruption Watch UK, called for an end to the weapons delivered to Saudi Arabia by the U.K. (BAE, etc.) and the United States.
Elke Fimmen, in her presentation, went into the illegal sanctions that have been imposed on top of the original UN Resolution #2216 of 2015, which was very limited in scope, providing only for weapons embargo against a few individuals. That text, however, was used as a pretext for a full-scale war of aggression, as well as blockading of the airport in Sana’a and of major ports such as Houdeidah, which has blocked the import of food, fuel, medical and other supplies on which the population if totally dependent. The guarantee of full humanitarian assistance and safety of individuals as demanded in the original UN resolution has been fully violated, Fimmen showed.
Fimmen also cited the resolution adopted at the international Schiller Institute conference in Bad Soden, Germany, in November 2017, which called for an immediate ceasefire, the lifting of the blockades, the return to the national reconciliation process and dialogue toward a political solution, and above all, the need to assist Yemen in “a rapid and large scale reconstruction process focussed on infrastructure projects to regain the livelihood of the nation, and the integration of Yemen into the Belt and Road Initiative.”
A seminar earlier in the day in Geneva addressed the issue of journalism in Yemen, and the fact that it is impossible for foreign journalists to travel there and report on the ongoing genocide.