Last updated: 19 October, 2011

UN Security Council to vote on Yemen violence

The UN Security Council will vote, possibly as early as this week, on a measure condemning the worsening violence in Yemen, a senior Western diplomat said Wednesday.

A draft resolution was circulated among the council’s 15 members late Tuesday.

The measure was to be discussed Wednesday at the level of experts and submitted to a vote by the end of this week or early next week.

The 15 council members have no major objections to the draft, and the five veto-wielding permanent members — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China — are in favor of it, the diplomat said.

“We need 15 votes of the (Security Council) member states to get a statement passed condemning the violence in the country,” the official said.

“I wouldn’t expect that there will be a major problem.”

The situation in Yemen differs from Syria’s as the opposition in Yemen is unarmed, he stressed.

Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh, accused of rampant corruption and nepotism during his 33-year rule, has refused to relinquish power, despite months of protests and mounting international and regional pressure.

Saleh has rejected a plan drawn up by the Gulf monarchies for a peaceful transfer of power.

In a draft of the text seen by AFP, the Security Council “expresses profound regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including women and children.”

It “strongly condemns the continued human rights violations by the Yemeni authorities, such as the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters as well as the acts of violence, use of force and human rights abuses perpetrated by other actors, and stresses that all those responsible for violence, human rights violations and abuses should be held accountable.

The text “further demands that all armed groups remove all weapons from areas of peaceful demonstration, refrain from violence and provocation, refrain from the unlawful recruitment of children, and urges all parties not to target vital infrastructure.”

At least 861 people have been killed and 25,000 wounded since the start of the protests, according to a letter sent to the United Nations in early October by the Yemeni youth movement.