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NGO's pressure UN to renew Yemen panel's mandate

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture taken on October 9, 2021 shows a view of the funeral hall building in Yemen's capital Sana'a which was hit in 2016 in a deadly airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition. (Photo by AFP)

More than 60 non-governmental organizations have urged the United Nations General Assembly to renew the mandate of an investigative panel that used to examine the likelihood of perpetration of war crimes in Yemen.

The groups forwarded the request to the Assembly on Thursday, pressing the world body to re-establish the mechanism, whose mandate has not been renewed owing to pressure on the part of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The NGO's condemned Riyadh and Abu Dhabi for pushing UN members to vote against issuance of a fresh permit for the probing panel. 

The Saudi kingdom has been leading a coalition of its allies, including the UAE, that has been invading Yemen since March 2015. The war has been seeking to restore power in Yemen to Riyadh's former favorite officials.

The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and pushed the country close to the brink of outright famine. 

The invaders have enjoyed generous political, logistic, and arms support from the United States and its Western allies. Among other types of ammunition, the allies have been providing Riyadh with surgical attack weapons that the coalition has been using widely against densely-populated areas in Yemen.

The NGO's called on the Assembly to reinstate the panel so it can collect and preserve evidence of war crimes and rights abuses. 

"The suffering already inflicted on civilians in the country demands this step to address impunity in the ongoing conflict and send a clear warning to perpetrators on all sides that they will be held accountable," their joint statement read.

"The people of Yemen need justice. And justice begins with investigations and accountability. The time to act is now."

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