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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 277  Al Jazeera  October 6, 2017 2:32pm-3:01pm AST

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russia says it hopes the u.s. will make a balanced decision on whether to remain engaged in the landmark international deal to curb iran's nuclear program president trump has accused iran of not living up to the spirits of the twenty fifteen deal and he's expected to refuse to endorse it next week iraqi kurds allaying one of the most prominent leaders to rest. was iraqi president from two thousand and five to twenty fourteen the eighty three year old was widely respected as a mediator between iraq's shia sunni and kurdish communities the associated press is reporting that the u.s. is holding some joint military exercises with gulf allies over the ongoing diplomatic crisis targeting cata the u.s. central command says it's encouraging all partners to work together for the security and stability of the region catalonia as police chief was walked free from court after attending a hearing in the spanish capital joseph luis a pair of is accused of sedition along with three other suspects the cambodian government has filed
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a lawsuit to dissolve the main opposition party can sell car the leader of the cambodian national rescue party was arrested and charged with treason last month critics say the prime minister who insan is cracking down on opponents before next year's election. i'm back with a quick summary of news for you top of the hour and then it's inside story i will see you very soon. the suffering of children in yemen the sally led coalition and who the rebels who are out war with each other both placed on the u.n. blacklist all that protect children rights they're used to violate this is
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inside story. hello and welcome to the show i'm sam is a than the sally led coalition has again been placed on the united nations blacklist the coalition's crime killing and maiming six hundred eighty three children in yemen last year as well as accusations of attacking schools and hospitals but the annual draft report also notes the saudi led coalition has put measures in place to protect children the united nations doesn't punish nations on the list but the hope is that the naming and shaming will force them to do more to protect civilians in saudi led coalition was on the blacklist last year but removed after saudi pressure on the un secretary general well the report also blacklist the
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government forces and their militia allies human rights watch has been documenting the violations in yemen since the war began it found fifty eight unlawful strikes which killed nearly eight hundred people homes hospitals schools and mosques were hit with human rights investigators accuse the coalition of using banned cluster munitions in at least sixteen attacks on populated areas and they say theon allied forces laid numerous land mines which of injured dozens of people. let's take a closer look at who is supporting the military action in yemen then saudi arabia leads a coalition of arab african and asian countries they receive military advice and support from the united states the u.k. belgium france and turkey among the opponents of the saudi military operation against the who theses are iran china and russia as bring our panel and then from
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our we have the editor of the post from washington d.c. we have kate carver director of policy and advocacy at the yemen peace project and via skype from london christine bakaly yemen researcher with human rights watch if i could start with christine you know the blacklist it's been it's a draft it's going to be made public and so on do you think the saudi led coalition will eventually be blacklisted and that will be upheld despite any pressure or objections. i think first of all thank you very much for having me but i think that . if the u.n. be getting out of it down evidence right just looking at the evidence that it has been proud of it in regard to the coercion killing and maiming attacking schools and hospitals then the coalition deserves to be on the list i think from our perspective violations continue and there's sort of enough evidence to show that even in twenty seventeen to the period after this reporting period we've documented
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more airstrikes where there's been very high children casualty tolls we've looked at in twenty seven thousand the coalition hitting school or so from our perspective coalition rightly so deserves to be a u.n. secretary general first as do many in their party to the conflict in yemen deserving to be on the list doesn't always mean you get to make it on the list though several of the un veto power supply coalition members with the weapons kate how much support do you see within the u.n. for this listing. i think there's growing support for this listing within the un and i think secretary general gutierrez is standing strong in the face of saudi pressure and i also think the passage of the resolution last week by the u.n. human rights council that empaneled a group of experts to document abuses by all sides to the conflict in yemen also shows that saudi pressure is not getting them to where it used to get them. here when they were able to stave off
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a resolution of an international inquiry and also remove themselves from the blacklist so i think that there is a growing calls within the international community for accountability in this represents a first step towards that accountability. likely to you that the security council might follow it's going to have to debate this issue do you think it'll follow up with any actual punitive measures. again words don't count so when it comes to the yemen war yes there are condemn a nation happening right now but these are happening yesterday alone four children were killed and two mothers mothers in airstrike in yemen region of sadat today a father and a child were kid killed today in another airstrike so while these investigations are ongoing these this pressure on saudi arabia is ongoing the killing of children continues in yemen. yesterday and today entire family of twelve all killed six of
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them women and children killed. no confirmation on that the problem is that the civilians are paying the price of war. the who these or the saudi that coalition forces are not losing anything they have the have the finances and the manpower while somebody has the manpower but they are not losing it's the people at the children it's the innocent civilians who are paying the price of yemen war and this is why this war must come to an end let me join in. like you're saying let me take that point to kate then it sounds like we're listening in to what i came in saying there's some anecdotal information does it look like the blacklist is not likely to dissuade countries from continuing to employ the same sort of tactics we've seen. i mean saudi abuses by the coalition have continued with impunity throughout this war despite verbal condemnations and you know the recent u.n. presidential statement that also condemned saudi actions and blocking humanitarian
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assistance so do you think any of that will change now though that i think they're starting to be baby steps towards it changing but until the u.s. and u.k. actually take verifiable action and start limiting its assistance to the coalition their behavior likely will not change the only time we saw a change in behavior by the coalition was and it was a small change in behavior was when the u.s. put partial arms sales on hold under the obama administration due to gross violations of human rights and air strikes that were targeting civilian areas so there needs to be more action particularly from the backers of the coalition and i think domestically in each country in the u.k. and the u.s. there is growing domestic opposition to involvement in backing of the coalition and it's really reaching a fever pitch so i guess and i think this block list is a good first step but more must be done but pick up more on that point which you mentioned about action from the backers but with for we go down that route i want
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to bring christine back into the discussion what does being pulled on the u.n. blacklist mean for accountability in practical terms. well i think one of the things that really struck me about the whole situation last year in terms of saudi led coalition or saudi arabian talent is putting all of this pressure on the u.n. to take them off the list so you can see that in one light where it is ok what the purpose of these was that people can and politically pressure the u.n. to get out you can see it in another light whereby countries really don't want to be listed countries including saudi arabia and its allies don't want to be on the list like this because they know it looks bad they know it has reputational cost for them and they're going to have to answer to their allies ideally about why they're on the list it's not just human rights watch not just amnesty international it's not just yemeni groups it's now the u.n. also saying that there's really terrible things happening in yemen and is that it would coalition is to blame for some of those things mentioned a moment ago that the idea of perhaps greater action from the backers to the
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parties in this conflict do you think that's likely now if if you're on a u.n. blacklist does that mean those who may be supplying you with weapons as a party to this combat may start to have second thoughts are you hopeful of that. those who did sell their weapons to saddam arabia or other parties in a lot of this war have already sold the weapons this this international actions are happening to have years too late so i do feel that this time will be different but saudi and saudi knows that. it will not be. not see its arms twisted especially since the killing of children is continuing as we saw yesterday and today in yemen so well yes it will have an effect but not to the extent that saudi arabia will stop its attacks but this is rather than a phase where it's the end of the war in yemen rather than trying to force saudi arabia or trying to condemn saudis for doing its violent acts against children and
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that when i say saudi i don't mean only saudi who is also commits some violations against civilians and children but why so with the focus on saudi because the majority of those who are killed children killed by the. strikes sadly not to mention as christine said earlier who has done a great job in yemen the schools that were attacked and were killed mentioned the hospitals that were attacked these children are the victims of this war kate do we know what measures when the un sorry go ahead kate you wanted to jump in let me give you a chance to finish your i was just going to say sami that i think i think it's also important to note that the focus is really on the coalition because that's where the international community really has the leverage to push for change and i think the blacklist is very important like christine was saying that it starts creating this evidentiary body to start talking about now only a commission of inquiry but also sending cases of violators to the hague eventually and demanding that accountability and it also gives domestic audiences in the u.s.
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and u.k. when these arm sales are being debated and other forms of military support that these violations can no longer be swept under the rug the u.n. what we talk about anted evidentiary for who to take action who couldn't to see you case against any of the parties to this conflict we have to bear in mind of course there and use ations against the who sees in their backers as well of of committing violations of of war. absolutely all parties to the conflict have committed violations of the laws of war i when you talk to call if you want to see them there . but you in theory it could be the i.c.c. there's also there's this issue of universal jurisdiction that countries can institute and should a party to this conflict travel there they can be detained and sent to the hague and i also think it's important to note that there's also domestic litigation options here that more and more bodies within the u.k. and the u.s.
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are starting to explore because as for example the u.s. continues to pride's security assistance to the saudi coalition there are u.s. laws that actually prohibit that assistance when a country has a documented pattern of gross violations of human rights as well as blocking humanitarian assistance so i think there is likely also if you know this international stage or the u.n. isn't necessarily the body that is ready to take action here due to this kind of inner pressure from saudi arabia and its allies all right i think there is likely to raise more and more. but only since christine started this whole point of evidentiary body let me take it full circle and back to christine when kay mentioned a moment ago that you know perhaps an option in syria could be the i.c.c. or even domestic litigation we're talking about countries which at the same time have supported some of the politics of the conflict by supplying them weapons so how realistic are any of those options christine well i think i mean you've already
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seen some legal action right there in the u.k. the topic export to the u.k. arms to saudi arabia is the subject of ongoing litigation and that's a big deal i think in the u.s. that have not explored as much but there certainly are sort of ways to look at what's ongoing in terms of u.s. support the coalition for the legal angle right is the u.s. aiding and abetting coalition were crimes but the real question that should be considered particularly given the evidence that u.s. weapons produced long after the start of the war ended up with you know apparently a model intact trying to work. and i think. one of the things that we continue to push for is that you know what will happen with legal action is a question and a very much depends on whether or not courts take these questions up but also whether or not there's enough evidence built and information gained on the perpetrators of crimes and that's a long road but at the same time that route is worth walking because. ultimately
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even the future litigation even the threat of future prosecution might make it to maybe good to very much the hope might make the party better comply with the ones who are in the now and that would have a concrete impact on your many lives how came from how it looks to you in sitting there in the yemen you know the u.n. report references improvements made by the saudi led coalition to try and avoid civilian casualties do you see a difference it's not only by the airstrikes it's what's caused by this war the cd that saleh pollution is. behind. a least ten thousand people majority of children women have been killed by this died by the siege more than their strike so you have the epidemic you have the airstrikes you have the siege different areas that civilians are paying the price and not only the war how homes you have at least seventy thousand homes that are reported right now according to the health ministry inside that has been destroyed or damaged by the airstrikes so
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why are homes attacked or why are schools attacked why are hospitals attacked these civilians. i have nothing to do with the war and the what's sad is that these actions are happening now rather than two and a half years ago when they first started so the lack of effort in the past has making this issue very very serious and yemenis have basically lost hope to when it comes to our commenting on the international community especially after the entire year of two seventeen as you know a complete pause of silence one of comes to the casualties of the civilian casualties in yemen and again saudi is not suffering the who does not suffer it's the civilians who are paying the price of war it's the people it's the innocent children who are dying of hunger who are dying with a lack of medicine and medical attention who are dying for the simplest reasons of the or disease is the co-leader right now a least half a million children could be affected with clear in yemen and their lives are i. in
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the india we're talking about the international community the u.n. says yemen is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world that was alluding to that now since the war started in march two thousand and fifteen more than eight thousand people have been killed about fifty thousand have been injured more than half of those who died were civilians not to mention the millions who've been displaced on top of that the country is also dealing with a cholera outbreak that has killed about two thousand people since april and it's facing a food shortage the conflict has pushed more than seventeen million people to the brink of famine but with blockades on the ports and airport getting that aid and food supplies into the country is a huge challenge so ok i mean we heard there from hakim about how you know the situation is pretty bad i wonder if these stats which your organization perhaps keeps and research is show any change in the suffering particularly of children
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since as apparently the u.n. says there has been a change in tactics adopted by the saudi led coalition to avoid you know targeting children i think these protections that are being cited are really saudi web service and we've seen similar rhetoric around protecting civilians and their air strikes and yet these abuses continue with impunity so high on chaos a organization is in absolutely no change in the rate of civilian or chill or child casualties in this war so far. no it has absolutely continued and i think it's also important. that it's not just the saudi airstrikes are violating the rights of children resulting in their deaths it's also the fact that the coalition has systematically target civilian infrastructure destroying water systems sanitation systems which have led to the cholera outbreak that we have now that have killed thousands of children and or infected thousands more it's the largest cholera
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outbreak ever documented and modern history and it's purely manmade as is the food shortage and famine which has already started in certain areas of the country so i think when it's great that the u.n. blacklisted the saudis i think that. citing the fact that there are some protections to limit harm to children really is likely due to saudi pressure the august draft report of the blacklist did not include that aspect of saudi having these protections and i really think that. these protections are something that the international community wants to see to feel better about continuing assistance and backing to the coalition on the ground it has made no difference also keep in mind that the blacklist is pretty much all the policies to the concert not just the sound the led coalition. kristie what does it lead to get
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an international investigation well i mean the amazing thing is we've got an international investigation now the question is how effective is that international investigation going to be and that's really up to member states of the u.n. . human rights council finally at long last after years of efforts by yemeni activists created an international inquiry and task led international inquiry with looking violations by all sides but the question is then once they present that report what do you have never seen. still with that or even before they present that report what do you know u.n. member states do next and i think has been raised on this call leverage and pressuring the parties to stop violations of the laws of war is not just about investigating war crimes it certainly is about that not the big part of accountability which many many emmys have been pushing for for a very long time but it's also about concrete action and taking steps that will in fact pressure the parties to actually change their behavior so are movies all aside
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it is unbelievable but they're still using anti-personnel landmines and like you talk about kids we've documented kids that i think killed or maimed by these are landmines or not been able to return home and it's also unbelievable that the saudis coalition is still using u.s. and u.k. weapons and i'm awful attacks in yemen and yet you haven't seen the people who have leverage over those parties really go to task and say you know we're in the third year this is unacceptable and i think the question now is one will people take the mechanisms that have been put in place to push accountability and really allow them and help them be effective and then to rule states take other action that will put concrete pressure on the parties to in fact change their behavior so that the daily life of yemeni civilians actually changes well that's an interesting point let me take is that i came in must not i do think people in yemen have any greater hope today now that there is a u.n. list that is you know documenting blaming both sides will for doing things they shouldn't be doing in yemen there's always hope but as it was in on the ground it's
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heartbreaking it's heartbreaking when you go to school right now and there's the hope of an international investigation actually leading somewhere on the part of most yemenis would you say will they get justice will this war and that's where the lack of hope is within the yemeni community in yemen here where millions have seen their loved ones die whether by south conditions or by the with the rockets that are but there's they've saw their loved ones die with no one caring that's not for me to silence all the un peace talks have. halted are schools right now are are empty children are everywhere in the street corners begging trying to seek food for the for the families so how bad does it feel for someone who go to school and see the empty classes so this war has not only devastated or killed innocent civilians children but also their future. how would you feel when schools are empty and the street corners are full of child labor or beggars so this has destructive to an entire generation in yemen and it's still continuing so people are worried that
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this will continue and the world will still remain silent or we're talking about war but we should members talk about peace as well and your organization is the yemen peace project do you think this u.n. listing in any way changes the prospects of peace if it makes this war look a little more ugly to the world and makes the parties to this conflict a little more openly blain shall we say increase the pressure for the diplomatic solution. i mean i think it should whether that actually translate lights into action by kind of the key players the u.s. and u.k. it remains to be seen. you know i think that documentation like this and just the widespread documentation of abuses by all sides has. you know led powers who maybe are not able to restart the peace process like secretary taylor saying are you u.s. u.n. ambassador nikki haley but you know the u.s.
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congress is now moving to limit u.s. support to the coalition because it's clear that this administration will and their goal really in doing actions like voting on a bill next week to end all u.s. military support to the coalition is really to send a message this administration that a diplomatic solution is needed in the u.s. needs to be leading in gauge with all sides to actually focus on end state solutions to get a peace peaceful settlement started right now the u.n. process is stalled largely because it's really focused on cease fires it's not talking about kind of these big thorny issues that have remained the issue sense really the arab spring uprising two thousand and eleven. let alone dealing with the abuses and fallout from the current civil war so i think it's important to start looking at other actors besides you know the central governments of these backers and so i think you know we're also seeing that in the u.k. parliament talking about ending your support for the coalition and that's really
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when i think you know the coalition in particular could be pushed to the peace table because right now i think they've been giving the signal by the u.s. and also the u.k. that they can pursue a military only course in yemen and continue down this road to nowhere but as these capitals start debating this more vigorously in public i think that will send a clear message to the saudis and the u.a.e. and the rest of their allies that this course is no longer tenable but at the same time you know there needs to be engaged. on the other side as well the who the sol lyons and that means engaging with iran it means engaging with oman and really we need the international community to lead on that type of engagement to have more inclusive peace talks but you know these for an app store is accountability there is research that shows accountability can lead to more fruitful negotiations do the threat of future accountability so hopefully this could be kind of a starting point for the it's always nice to end with hopefully let's end with hope
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this time as well and thank our guests very much for their participation kate's conover christine bakaly and must molly and thank you to fortune you can see the show again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com for further discussion head over to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter handle there is a.j. inside story from me sam is a dad and the whole team here for now is good buy. oh
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