The use of Mercenaries in Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia to engage in Systematic Human Rights Violations

On 17 September 2020, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 45 during on interactive debate with The Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries.



Madame President,

IDO thanks the Working Group for its report on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination. In this view, we would like to highlight that the GCC countries have intensified this trend and continue to recruit and deploy mercenaries to violate human rights.

The GCC monarchies’ practice of using mercenaries is indeed well-established in order to project power and political interests in the region, both within their national borders and in a transnational way. A striking example is constituted by the massive use of thousands of mercenaries by the Bahraini government in 2011 to violently repress the pro-democracy movement and to silent any further voice of dissent.

However, what is currently most alarming is the Saudi-led coalition’s extensive use of private military companies and foreign recruits in Yemen. It is documented that tens of thousands of mercenaries have indeed been recruited from Africa and South-America and deployed in the Yemeni war particularly by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with the backing of the US, UK and France. Commonly, the mercenaries receive assignments that necessarily entail the violation of human rights, such as the right to self-determination of the Yemeni people, and contribute to the degradation of the appalling humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Such a practice must urgently stop. Therefore, we would like to ask to the Working Group, which measures do you think are the most effective to tackle the use of mercenaries and consequent human rights violations in Yemen?

Thank you