UN pressed release of staff detained in Yemen

Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau
UNITED NATIONS, 10th July. UN human rights office spokesman Jeremy Laurence said on Tuesday that it remains “extremely worried” for the well-being of 13 UN staff and a number of NGO employees arbitrarily detained in Yemen, demanding their unconditional release.

OHCHR noted that the staffers have been held incommunicado by the de facto authorities in Yemen who hold the capital and large swathes of the war-wracked country, formally known as Ansar Allah.

Houthis have been fighting for overall control of Yemen against a coalition of pro-Government forces since 2015.

We continue to be refused access to them”, said Mr Laurence.

“We also remain particularly concerned by the situation of two other UN staff members who were already in prolonged detention, one since November 2021 and the other since August 2023,” he told reporters.

He underscored that the UN “emphatically” rejects shocking and false allegations made publicly against the staff members being held.

Lawrence called on States and others which influence over the Houthis to help secure the safe and prompt release of all those detained.

“It’s crucial that the de facto authorities ensure that those detained are treated with full respect for their human rights, and that they are able to contact their families and legal representatives,” Mr. Laurence insisted, voiced concern over the conditions they face in captivity.

He added that any targeting of human rights and humanitarian workers in Yemen must cease immediately.

The 13 UN Staffers were detained in June, it reported

Some 4 additional UN staff members have been detained and held incommunicado by the de facto authorities since 2021 and 2023, without access to their families or their respective organizations and agencies.

The Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen indicated back in June, the four staff held ahead of the latest detentions worked for the UN education, scientific and cultural agency, UNESCO, and the UN human rights office, OHCHR.

The 13 UN staff detained include six who work for rights office OHCHR and one each from the Office of the Special Envoy in Yemen, the UNDP), UNICEFWFP), the  WHO and 2 from UNESCO.

 

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