Human rights groups have documented a trail of international law violations on both sides of the conflict, from attacks on schools and medical centers to arbitrary detentions and recruitment of child fighters. The United Nations has repeatedly complained of a lack of access in the country, including for the delivery of lifesaving aid.
The latest United Nations human rights report, released in early September, found that Saudi-led coalition airstrikes continued to be the “leading cause” of civilian deaths, including child deaths.
The draft resolution, seen by The New York Times, encourages the Yemen national human rights body to cooperate with the United Nations human rights office and seeks to establish a three-member commission of inquiry. That panel, according to the draft, would “carry out comprehensive investigations into all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international law by all parties to the conflict in Yemen since September 2014.”
It is sponsored by Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
The Saudi ambassador to the United Nations, Abdallah Y. al-Mouallimi, called the draft resolution “premature.”
He said the United Nations should instead help Yemen’s national authorities carry out their own investigations.
Saudi Arabia had circulated its own resolution proposing that approach and said it hoped “a reasonable outcome” would be reached.
Asked if the Saudis would retaliate economically against those countries pushing a commission of inquiry, the Saudi ambassador offered a nuanced response.
“We don’t link these issues with commercial considerations,” Mr. Mouallimi said, “but I think all the countries recognize we have presented a reasonable proposal and that trying to take alternative action would not be considered a friendly gesture.”
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out what it called the limits of Yemen’s national commission.
“The National Commission, which receives funds from Saudi Arabia, simply cannot do its work impartially given its serious structural, methodological shortcomings, its lack of access to Houthi-controlled areas, its reporting lines and its complete failure to hold accountable the parties to the conflict,” a spokeswoman for the human rights office, Ravina Shamdasani, said in an email.