GENEVA ― China signaled on Wednesday it was willing to back an international inquiry into atrocities in Yemen, as demanded by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, but Saudi Arabia and the United States said they did not support the idea.
For three years running U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein has asked the 47 countries in the U.N. Human Rights Council to set up an independent investigation into Yemen’s war, which has killed at least 10,000, destroyed the economy, led to a cholera epidemic and pushed millions to the brink of famine.
Despite his pleas, they have twice supported a Saudi plan to let Yemen investigate by itself.
On Wednesday, the Netherlands and Canada unveiled a draft resolution to establish an international commission of inquiry (COI) to ensure that “perpetrators of violations and abuses, including those that may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are held accountable”.
The three-page text was supported by many countries when diplomats met to discuss amendments.
“We agree with the actions, including the COI, to promote the political solving of the Yemen crisis,” a Chinese delegate told the meeting, which was boycotted by the Arab group of countries supporting a rival Saudi-led resolution.
Britain and the United States said they wanted to see consensus around a single resolution.
”We do have concerns that a full international independent Commission of Inquiry is not likely to get us there,” U.S. diplomat Michele Roulbet told the meeting.
The Saudi-led coalition has also has set up a team to investigate civilian casualties. On Tuesday it said it had found a series of deadly air strikes had been largely justified.