Saudi Arabia has allegedly used “incentives and threats” as part of a lobbying campaign to divert the UN investigation on alleged human rights violations in the Yemen conflict.
Speaking to the Guardian, political officials and diplomatic and activist sources with insider knowledge of the lobbying push described a stealth campaign in which the Saudis appear to have influenced officials to ensure the measure’s defeat.
Riyadh allegedly warned Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country that it would create obstacles for Indonesians to travel to Mecca if officials did not vote against the October 7 resolution.
Moreover, the African nation of Togo announced at the time of the vote that it would open a new embassy in Riyadh, and would receive financial support from the kingdom to support counter-terrorism activities.
Both Indonesia and Togo abstained from the resolution on Yemen in 2020. This year they both voted against the measure.
“It was a very tight vote. We understand that Saudi Arabia, its coalition allies, and Yemen have been working at a high level for some time to persuade states in capital cities through a mix of threats and incentives, to back their offers to end the mandate of this international monitoring mechanism,“ said John Fisher, director of Human Rights Watch in Geneva.
The civil war in Yemen intensified in 2015 after a Saudi-led coalition, using weapons purchased in the United States and the United Kingdom, intervened on behalf of the internationally recognized Yemeni government against the Houthi rebels.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the Yemeni conflict and 4 million were displaced so far.
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