Staff Members of 2 UN Agencies Have Been Held by Houthis in Yemen Since Early November

Staff Members of 2 UN Agencies Have Been Held by Houthis in Yemen Since Early November

Two staff members of two United Nations agencies have been held by the Iran-backed rebel Houthi movement in Yemen since early November, according to a joint statement from UNESCO and the UN Human Rights Council. The heads of the two agencies, UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, said in the statement that they are “deeply concerned” for the two unnamed staff members, who were detained in rebel-held Sanaa, despite the privileges and immunities that are supposed to be accorded to staff of the UN system under international law. They called for the staff members’ “immediate release without any further delays.” There has been no communication between the UN and the staff members since they were arrested. Reuters reported citing an unnamed Yemeni government official who said that the two staff members were Yemeni staff who had previously worked for the US embassy in Sanaa. Several Yemenis who were employed by the US Embassy in the Turkish embassy in Sanaa were detained by the Houthis in November.

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