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A Yemeni man walks past destoyed vehicles and shuttered shops in the Crater district of the southern city of Aden on Oct. 3, 2021 following clashes between armed groups. Photo: Saleh Al-Obeidi/AFP via Getty Images

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) narrowly voted 21-18 Thursday to end the body's war crimes investigation in Yemen despite Western states' push to continue the mission.

Why it matters: The political conflict between a Saudi-led military coalition and Iran-allied Houthi rebels has killed over 8,200 civilians, including 2,270 children, and injured 13,283 civilians since 2015, the UNHRC says.

  • Independent investigators have said both parties committed potential war crimes, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture.
  • Roughly 80% of Yemen’s population requires humanitarian aid, including over 12 million children, according to UNICEF.

Details: Thursday's vote, however, marked the first time a resolution was defeated in the UNHRC's 15-year history, per Reuters.

  • Bahrain and Russia helped push the vote past Western opposition among the council's 47 members.
    • Bahraini ambassador Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri argued during the debate that the international group of investigators had contributed to spreading misinformation about the situation.
    • Amnesty International later accused Saudi Arabia of pressuring the council to end its mission.
    • Saudi Arabia is not a voting member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, however, Bahrain is an ally.
  • Dutch ambassador Peter Bekker called the vote a major setback.
  • A spokesperson said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will continue to press for accountability in Yemen, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: "Words cannot describe our disappointment," said Mwatana for Human Rights, an independent Yemeni human rights organization. The group added that the vote gives "a green light to warring parties to continue their campaign of death and destruction."

  • Failure to renew the mandate is a "stain on the Human Rights Council's record," Akshaya Kumar, director of crisis advocacy at Human Rights Watch, tweeted in response.
  • "By voting against much-needed mandate, the Council turned its back on victims, bowed to pressure from the Saudi-led coalition, and put politics before principle."

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Oct 18, 2021 - Axios Denver

Denver poised to give belated incentives for vaccinations

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock speaks at the Colorado Convention Center on Sept. 22. Photo: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Mayor Michael Hancock may have his way after all.

What's happening: City employees who are vaccinated against COVID-19 or received an exemption could soon receive bonuses for complying with the Hancock administration's vaccine mandate.

Transportainment's moment of truth in Nashville

A 'Music City Party Tub' bus drives past the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Efforts to rein in Nashville party buses will face a critical test tonight.

  • A popular bill to regulate large entertainment vehicles is scheduled to come up for a final vote, but first the lead sponsor is considering some last-minute changes.

Why it matters: Transportainment is the latest symbol of Nashville's complicated relationship with tourism.

2 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.