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Yemeni Minister Rejects UN Group of Experts’ Extension

Yemeni Minister Rejects UN Group of Experts’ Extension

Thursday, 26 September, 2019 - 07:15
Workers carry the aid provided by the World Food Program (WFP) for distribution in Sanaa, Yemen August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

Yemeni Human Rights Minister Mohamad Askar has relayed his country’s rejection to extending the term of the UN’s Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Askar said there were Western parties looking to expand the role of the group, but they are doing so by holding various meetings with a number of international representatives supporting human rights of Yemenis.

Askar accuses the Group of being biased and says it has failed on several accounts to report on atrocities committed by the Houthi militias.

In his remarks on the sidelines of the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Askar wondered about the Group’s role in unveiling Houthi crimes, such as the exploitation of the suffering of Yemenis to advance Iranian agendas.

“Houthi militias are trying to exploit the humanitarian crisis to pass Iran's agenda in the region and threaten the national security of Arab states by imposing its control of some (Yemeni) maritime ports, in addition to bringing in shipments of Iranian weapons, ballistic missiles and drones,” Askar said.

Elaborating further on Houthi behavior, Askar said it represents a flagrant violation of UN Security Council resolutions, especially 2216 and 2140 which prohibit the import of all types of weapons.

Askar also cited Houthi seizure of humanitarian aid sent to the ailing people in the war-torn country. The Iran-backed militia confiscates ships and trucks carrying humanitarian aid to areas under its control.

He stressed that Houthis sell the aid they seize in markets, depriving dozens of families living in areas which they control.

He noted that militias exploited areas protected by international law, such as residential neighborhoods and civilian homes, and used them to store weapons.

The Houthis turned densely populated civilian neighborhoods in Sanaa into arms and explosives caches.

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