Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 18th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on the OHCHR’s visit to Yemen

19 September 2011


Australia welcomes the recent fact-finding visit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Yemen.

We are most concerned over the widespread and grave nature of human rights abuses in Yemen, detailed in the report, including the excessive and disproportionate use of lethal force by the state on the demonstrators.

Australia calls on the Government of Yemen to respect the rights of its citizens to peaceful protest and political expression, and to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners detained for exercising these rights.

We also support the call for transparent and independent investigations into serious human rights abuses, including killings of civilians.

We express our grave concern about reports of deliberate actions by parties in violent conflict to deprive the population of basic services, noting the adverse impact of such actions on the humanitarian welfare of ordinary citizens.

The Australian Government is particularly alarmed about the report’s finding that children have not been spared in the violence, and of their recruitment into military service. We call for the immediate demobilisation of children in military service, and for all parties to respect the rights of children.

We emphasise the importance of all parties doing their utmost to prevent further escalation of violence, to address the humanitarian consequences of the crisis, including the precarious situation of refugees and internally-displaced persons, and to commit to national unity and stability.

We call on both the Government and those opposition elements which have taken up arms, to abandon violence and choose a path of peaceful negotiation to bring about desired political reform.