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Houthi rebels detain 9 UN staffers in Yemen

Yemeni employees of the United Nations agencies have been detained by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

News Arena Network - Sanaa - UPDATED: June 7, 2024, 10:50 AM - 2 mins read

Yemeni employees of the United Nations agencies have been detained by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Houthi rebels detain 9 UN staffers in Yemen

The detentions come as the Houthis face increasing financial pressure and airstrikes from a US-led coalition. Other aid workers are also likely been taken. (For representation only).


At least nine Yemeni employees of United Nations agencies have been detained by Yemen's Houthi rebels. Circumstances were unclear, authorities said on Friday.

 

The detentions come as the Houthis face increasing financial pressure and airstrikes from a US-led coalition. Other aid workers have also likely been taken.

 

UN Regional officials were quoted by several news media outlets saying that those detained include staff from the United Nations human rights agency, its development programme, the World Food Programme, and one working for the office of its special envoy. The wife of one detainee has also been held.

 

“We condemn in the strongest terms this dangerous escalation, which constitutes a violation of the privileges and immunities of United Nations employees granted to them under international law, and we consider it to be oppressive, totalitarian, and blackmailing practices to obtain political and economic gains,” the organisation said in a statement.

 

Activists, lawyers, and others started an open online letter, urging the Houthis to release the detainees immediately to avoid further isolation of the country.

 

The Houthi rebels and their affiliated media did not acknowledge the detentions. However, they planned mass demonstrations after noon prayers on Friday, where Houthi officials typically address their actions.

 

 “Internal tensions and conflicts could spiral out of control and lead Yemen into complete economic collapse,” journalist  Muhammad Ali Thamer told reporters.

 

The war in Yemen has killed more than 150,000 people and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

 

Previously, the Houthis detained four other UN staffers — two in 2021 and two more in 2023 — who remain in custody.

 

In 2023, the UN’s human rights agency called these detentions a “profoundly alarming situation as it reveals a complete disregard for the rule of law.”

 

The Houthis are members of Islam’s minority Shiite Zaydi sect, which ruled northern Yemen for 1,000 years until 1962.

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