Consultations on Yemen: Implementing the Recommendations of the National Dialogue Conference
This afternoon, Council members will meet in consultations to receive a briefing from Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen. The meeting is expected to focus on the steps taken by Yemen to implement the recommendations of the 21 January final document of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC).
Council members will likely be interested in hearing Benomar’s assessment of the inclusivity of the constitution-drafting process and the work plan of the 17-member Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) appointed by President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi on 8 March. Council members might also inquire about the creation of a national body to oversee the implementation of the NDC outcomes and resolve disputes among CDC members as per the NDC recommendations. In resolution 2140 of 26 February, in addition to establishing a sanctions regime and a sanctions committee, the Council expressed its strong support for the next steps of the transition, which include drafting a new constitution, adopting a new electoral law, holding a referendum and general elections and changing the structure of the state from unitary to federal. Council members might be interested in Benomar’s perspective on the impact of the sanctions regime established to counter the consistent pattern of obstruction by spoilers to the political process raised in the past by Benomar.
Council members are also likely to be interested in Benomar’s assessment of the security situation in Yemen. Despite consecutive truces reached in recent weeks, the relations between Salafist groups and the Zaidi Shi’a Houthis in Sana’a, Sa’ada, Al-Jawf and Amran governorates remain tense. In addition to the hundreds injured since October 2013, thousands of internally displaced persons have reached Sana’a, and there have been instances of fighting in the capital. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) continues carrying out attacks throughout the country, and some Council members may inquire about an air campaign reportedly conducted by Yemen and with the support of the US targeting AQAP which is believed to have resulted in dozens of casualties since 20 April.
Another issue that may be raised is the reception in Yemen and in the region of resolution 2140 and the imposition of measures under Chapter VII. In this context, Council members might be interested in Benomar’s efforts to dispel misperceptions regarding the resolution. It seems some countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have shown in private their discomfort with some elements of the resolution, and Council members might be interested in the potential impact of these dynamics in Yemen’s fragile transition process.
Finally, human rights issues in Yemen are likely to be a topic of discussion. Council members might ask about the investigations of allegations of violations of human rights in 2011. (On 22 September 2012, Presidential Decree No. 140 established an independent commission of inquiry to address such abuses, but President Hadi has since announced that he would postpone the nomination of its commissioners until after the referendum on a new constitution.) Additionally, Council members are likely to raise the need to investigate the reported widespread human rights abuses of civilians, including children and women, by parties to the conflict in al-Dhale’e district. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 20 villages in the district (home to some 45,000 residents) have been frequently shelled since January. Violence between armed local tribesmen from the Hirak (Southern) movement and government forces subsided in al-Dhale’e after a truce was agreed in early March.