Resolution Establishing a Sanctions Regime for Yemen
Tomorrow (26 February), the Security Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution on Yemen expressing the Council’s strong support for the next steps of the political transition and establishing sanctions against individuals or entities which the Sanctions Committee to be set up by the resolution determines to be engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen. The draft was circulated to the wider membership on 21 February, after having been discussed first among the P3, and then among the P5. After one round of negotiations which resulted in some amendments, it was put in blue today.
The draft resolution welcomes the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) and the recent progress made in the political transition, and expresses the Council’s strong support for completing the next steps of the transition, in line with the Implementation Mechanism, including the drafting of a new constitution, the adoption of a new electoral law, the holding of a referendum and general elections and the transition of the structure of the state from unitary to federal.
The resolution establishes a sanctions regime (asset freeze and travel ban), a sanctions committee and a four-member panel of experts and includes among the designation criteria undermining the successful completion of the political transition, impeding the implementation of the final report of the NDC or being responsible for human rights abuses in Yemen. Even though the resolution mentions former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a preambular paragraph, the resolution stops short of listing anyone, instead leaving that to the sanctions committee. (Saleh and former Vice-President Ali Salim Al-Beidh were named in a 15 February 2013 presidential statement in the context of the Council’s expressing its readiness to impose sanctions). It seems the manner in which to name and warn political spoilers in the resolution was thoroughly discussed among P3 members. A mention of both names in connection with anti-government media campaigns in Yemen was dropped from an earlier draft and only Saleh’s name, with a vague requirement to “turn the page” of his presidency, was retained.
The resolution also emphasises that the transition agreed upon by the parties to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative and Implementation Mechanism Agreement has not yet been fully achieved and calls upon all Yemenis to fully respect the implementation of the political transition. (The GCC Initiative granted immunity to the president and those who served under his role in exchange for the transfer of power.)
The resolution also expresses the Council’s concern over reported serious human rights abuses and violence against civilians in both the northern and southern governorates. It also looks forward to steps by the Government of Yemen towards the implementation of Republican Decree No. 140 of 2012, which established a committee to investigate allegations of violations of human rights in 2011. Language expressing the Council’s concern about the recruitment and use of children by armed groups and the Yemeni government armed forces was added by Luxembourg.
The draft resolution also includes language suggested by Australia recalling the listing of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and directing the Sanctions Committee to cooperate with the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee as well as the Analytical Support and its Sanctions Monitoring Team. Australia also proposed language expressing the Council’s grave concern arising from the illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. It also requested that the resolution call for continued national efforts to address the threat posed by all weapons, including explosive weapons and small arms and light weapons, to stability and security in Yemen.
In terms of reporting requirements, the resolution requests the Secretary-General to continue to report on developments in Yemen, including on the implementation of the outcome of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference every 60 days. In addition it requests the Panel of Experts to provide to the Council, after discussions with the Committee, an update no later than 25 June 2014, an interim report by 25 September 2014 and a final report by 25 February 2015.