Yemen: UN staff among dozens detained by Houthi rebels

Yemen’s already dire humanitarian crisis has worsened with the reported detention of over a dozen aid workers, including 11 UN staff, by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The coordinated crackdown on Friday highlights the dangerous conditions faced by those providing vital assistance in the war-torn country.

The United Nations confirmed the detention of its staff, with spokesperson Stephane Dujarric demanding their “safe and unconditional release.”

The Yemeni Mayyun Organization for Human Rights reported the abduction of at least 18 Yemeni aid workers across four rebel-held areas.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned the “arbitrary detention” of the individuals, raising concerns about the unknown whereabouts of many.

The detentions reportedly include the family members of an aid worker, with HRW detailing the capture of a woman’s husband and children, ages three and nine months.

This incident underscores the wider impact of the Houthis’ actions, extending beyond aid workers themselves.

This is not the first time the Houthis have targeted aid workers.

Rights groups report hundreds of civilians, including UN and NGO personnel, have been kidnapped, arbitrarily detained, and even tortured since the conflict began in 2014.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government strongly condemned the “massive abduction campaign.”

They reported that dozens of employees from UN agencies, the office of UN envoy Hans Grundberg, and international organizations were targeted in the capital Sanaa and other Houthi-controlled areas.

The international community must swiftly address this situation.

The Houthis need to be pressured to release the detained aid workers and ensure the safety of all those providing humanitarian assistance.

This incident underscores the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the Yemeni conflict, which has caused immense suffering for millions of civilians.

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