UN ‘impartiality’ torpedoed!


One of the bases for the establishment of the United Nations (UN), following the collapse of the League of Nations, is that the organization ought to be neutral in dealing with nations and peoples, especially those involved in conflicts.

Throughout the decades in the aftermath of World War II, the policy of impartiality was implemented. This enabled the UN to carry out successful roles in conflict resolution and taking care of people displaced by wars in different parts of the world.

The UN peacekeeping efforts, especially shortly before electing the late Kofi Annan as UN Secretary General at the beginning of the millennium, achieved great success. This was despite the recurrent criticism of the UN as failing to prevent the genocides in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.

A UN role was necessary in Yemen, in line with UN Security Council resolution 2216, to prevent the Houthi militias from destroying the country. This is aside from facilitating the delivery of relief materials and medicines to the victims of Houthi atrocities.

Despite the failure of the UN to carry out a serious role in achieving a peaceful settlement among the Yemenis, it intensified its activities in Yemen due to fear it would be dogged by criticism, the way it was following the conflicts in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq and Syria.

The vacuum in Yemen was filled by the Arab Coalition countries led by Saudi Arabia. However, has the UN complied with its code of professional principles and code of ethics in Yemen?

This question does not have a positive answer! The Arab Coalition for Restoring Legitimacy in Yemen kept on criticizing the UN staff and rights organizations, with whom the Coalition cooperated, but finally realized that despite this cooperation, they were always favoring the Houthi militias and were working for Houthis' interests.

This matter reached such a level that an office, affiliated to the UN secretary general, blacklisted the Arab Coalition for dealing with children in conflict zones. This was an unjustified act. Under pressure of strong Arab and Western denunciation, the UN organization was forced to withdraw its irresponsible decision of blacklisting the Arab Coalition.

Now it has hired a team of experts, as authorized by the UN Human Rights Council, to prepare its report on human rights in Yemen in 2018.

The officials of the UN Human Rights Council, with its headquarters in Geneva, understood that abiding by neutrality means blaming both sides equally — the Arab Coalition that is carrying out its functions and the Houthi forces of evil backed by Iran.

This took place without the experts taking a single step on the ground to interview the victims and inspect the scenes of attacks. They did not even care to contact the Arab Coalition for replies to the false accusations and fabricated lies they leveled against it.

It seems that the UN not only “does not give a hoot”, but it is moving towards its downfall, as its agencies and bodies are functioning as isolated islands.

At a time when the Arab Coalition has excellent diplomatic and work relations with the UN Security Council, UN Secretary General’s Office and UN agencies responsible for relief aid and returning displaced people to their countries, the Human Rights Council chose to have its ties with this important party in the Yemeni crisis through human rights experts.

These experts are self-employed or in rights organizations that are not obliged to follow moral and professional standards required in the work of UN organizations.

The result was that they passed equal judgments towards the Houthis and the Coalition. Furthermore, they ignored the despicable Iranian role in Yemen.

The report was embellished with an appeal to the international community to stop the flow of weapons to Yemen. The report was totally silent on the source and basic exporter of weapons to the Houthi terrorist gangs — Iran.

They ignored the standard procedures followed by the Arab Coalition in implementing the rules of engagement, protecting civilians, rehabilitation of child soldiers recruited by Houthis and returning them to their families.

They also ignored the efforts being exerted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in providing relief and humanitarian aid to Yemenis and the two countries’ initiatives in Yemen’s reconstruction.

One of the observations that is astounding and simultaneously arouses condemnation, is that the UN interferes with all force every time the Coalition along with its Yemeni partners are about to take decisive action on key issues; liberating Hodeidah Port and handing it over to the UN, and putting an end to the siege on Taiz.

The UN and its agencies working in the region did not act at all to denounce the launching of ballistic missiles by the Houthi militias, Iranians and terrorist Hezbollah experts towards Saudi territories, except the statements by the UN Security Council, whose major members support the efforts of the Arab Coalition.

Surely, the officials of the “UN Palace” in Geneva must wake up. They should realize the necessity to investigate on how to prepare reports that comply with the work criteria and standards of the UN agencies.

They should not be influenced by the media campaigns and fabricated lies launched by Houthis and transmitted by the cronies of Iran via satellite channels and the social media.

They will realize how far they have digressed from accuracy and equanimity that ought to be the policy of the staff in this organization.

The staff should remain neutral in all disputes to be able to communicate with all parties to the crises and be able to achieve the organization’s goals in conflict resolution, stop wars and reach the victims of wars and disasters.

— The author is the editor-in-chief of Okaz. Follow him on Twitter: @JameelAlTheyabi