January 7th, 2014 13:40 EST
UN Condemns Shelling of Yemeni Funeral Procession
The United Nations human rights office today strongly condemned the killing of more than 20 people, and the wounding of dozens of children and other relatives, during a funeral procession in southern Yemen, and urged authorities to hold those responsible to account.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that the shelling on 27 December at Al-Dhalai Governorate killed 21 civilians and injured 30 others, prompting President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi to set up an investigation committee.
The move has been welcomed by OHCHR, according to spokesperson Rupert Colville.
He told journalists in Geneva that UN human rights officials urged Yemeni authorities to ensure that the probe is prompt, thorough and impartial ", and that its findings are made public.
Yemen has been undergoing a democratic transition, with a Government of National Unity, which came to power in an election in February 2012 following protests that led to the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
A day before the shelling, independent UN human rights experts voiced serious concern about recent lethal drone airstrikes, allegedly conducted by United States forces in Yemen.
According to local security officials, 16 civilians were killed and at least 10 injured when two separate wedding processions were hit on 12 December in Al-Baida Governorate. According to officials cited by OHCHR, the victims had been mistakenly identified as members of Al-Qaida.
Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
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