UN Official Faults Rights Body After Deadly Yemen Airstrike

The U.N. human rights chief on Monday denounced suspected Saudi-led airstrikes inYementhat killed at least 140 people, and faulting the Human Rights Council for not doing more in the face of a “climate of impunity” in the impoverished, war-torn country.Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein cited the weekend attack in Yemen’s capital and reiterated his calls for an independent investigation of rights abuses and other violations in Yemen. So the 47-member Geneva-based council, which includesSaudi Arabia, all but ignored those calls at its last session in September.So zeid noted that weddings, marketplaces, hospitals, schools “and now mourners at a funeral” have been hit during the conflict,”resulting in massive civilian casualties and zero accountability for those responsible.”Since the Saudi-led, U.S.A-backed coalition started launching airstrikes against Shiite Houthi rebels in March 2015, at least 4,125 civilians have been killed and over 7,200 wounded in Yemen, Zeid’s office said in a statement, including 369 civilian casualties this month alone.Zeid expressed concerns that an escalation of hostilities could follow, saying “the international community has a legal and moral duty to react robustly to the increasingly horrific levels of civilian casualties in Yemen, just as it has in many other situations.”Germany also expressed concern over the strike, with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier saying “those responsible for this cruel act must be found,” and that such attacks must not be repeated. So he did not say who was responsible, but the Saudi-led coalition is the only air force known to be operating in Yemen.”The many dead at the funeral should be a warning to all in Yemen and in the region who have political responsibility to seekpossibilities now to resume the U.N.-mediated talks on a cease-fire and a political solution for Yemen,” Steinmeier said.On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asked U.N. Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moonto use his “good offices” to arrange for an Iranian aircraft to bring humanitarian supplies to victims of the deadly attack on a funeral hall in Yemen’s capital and evacuate the wounded.Zarif expressed shock Sunday at the “tragic and horrific airstrikes” by the coalition, and called for Saudi Arabia and the coalition’s backers to be held accountable “for the war crimes perpetrated in Yemen over the past year and a half.”

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