Friday, 21 January, 2022

UN urges Yemen rebels to free its staff

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations called Wednesday for the immediate release of two UN employees detained by Huthi rebels in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, reports AFP.

The employees of Yemeni nationality have been held with no explanation and in violation of their international immunity, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"The secretary general is deeply concerned about the arrests and detention of two UN staff members in Saana by the Huthis earlier this month," he said.

Since the workers were arrested on November 5 and 7 in the rebel-held capital, it has been impossible for their families and offices to communicate with them, Dujarric said.

One works for UNESCO and the other for the UN human rights department.

Last week the Iranian-backed Huthi rebels that are holding them gave assurances that the two would be released but they remain in detention "in breach of UN privileges and immunities," the spokesman said.

Last week the United States called on the rebels to release local Yemenis who work for the US embassy after the diplomatic compound was breached by Huthis.

The US shifted embassy operations to Saudi Arabia in 2015 because of the war in Yemen.

Dujarric declined to say if the two cases are related.

The seven-year war has created what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. About 80 percent of Yemen's 30 million people rely on aid to survive.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting and millions have been forced from their homes.