17:43 GMT29 November 2020
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    Human Rights Watch names threats from Saudi Arabia to punish members of the UN Human Rights Council that vote for an independent probe of civilian casualties in Yemen, as well as silence by the United States, United Kingdom and France on the issue, as key obstacles to a proposed international investigation.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — In recent days, Saudi Arabia has threatened some members of the 47-nation Human Rights Council with unspecified consequences if they vote in favor of a Canada-Netherlands resolution to launch a UN-supervised investigation, according to in a press release published on Thursday.

    "These are the actions of a state that will do everything in its power to bully and buy its way out of accountability," the release stated. "The Council cannot allow that to happen."

    The release also accused the United States, United Kingdom and France — major arms suppliers of weapons for the Saudi-led air campaign against Yemeni insurgents — of remaining "hypocritically silent" on whether they would back an international investigation of rights abuses in Yemen.

    The three nations backed a similar investigation in Syria, the release noted.

    On Friday, the final day of the rights council’s 2017 session, nations are expected to vote for one of the two competing resolutions.

    Canada and the Netherlands are calling for an international probe while Saudi Arabia is backing a competing resolution to back a domestic probe, which critics say fails to hold rights violators on both sides of Yemen’s conflict accountable.

    Human rights groups have documented multiple instances of civilians being killed and possibly targeted by Saudi air strikes in support of Yemen’s internationally recognized government, as well as the shelling of civilian neighborhoods by rebel Houthi forces.

    A showdown is expected on Friday, the final day of the Human Rights Council’s 2017 session when nations are expected to vote for one of the two resolutions.

    Tags:
    civilian deaths, Human Rights Watch, United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
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