UN Chief Urges Yemen Rivals: No New Violence and Renew Truce

United Nations Secretary-General Antَnio Guterres speaks at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 20, 2022 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
United Nations Secretary-General Antَnio Guterres speaks at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 20, 2022 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
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UN Chief Urges Yemen Rivals: No New Violence and Renew Truce

United Nations Secretary-General Antَnio Guterres speaks at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 20, 2022 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)
United Nations Secretary-General Antَnio Guterres speaks at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 20, 2022 in New York City. (Getty Images/AFP)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Yemen’s warring parties on Monday to refrain from any provocations that could escalate violence. The move follows the failure to extend a nationwide cease-fire and to engage with each other to renew the truce.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the secretary-general is disappointed that the legitimate government and Iran-backed Houthi militias didn’t reach an agreement before the Oct. 2 deadline. But he stressed: "We in no way see it as the end of the road."

The initial two-month truce agreed to on April 2 and extended twice brought the longest lull in fighting since the devastating war began in 2014. The failure to renew it for an even longer period as the UN sought has raised fears of renewed clashes and a worsening of the already dire humanitarian situation.

Dujarric said UN special envoy Hans Grundberg is still in negotiations with the government and the Houthis and will continue to explore "options that are acceptable to both parties."

Last Friday, Guterres urged both sides to prioritize the national interests of the Yemeni people, expand the truce and "choose peace for good." His statement followed a stark warning three days earlier from Grundberg that the risk of a return to fighting "is real."

Dujarric said there’s still time for the parties to "do what they need to do to benefit the people of Yemen."

"The truce has directly benefited Yemeni civilians," he said. "Major military activity stopped. Civilian casualties have dropped significantly. Fuel imports through Hodeidah ports eased shortages, and international commercial flights out of Sanaa airport to Amman and other destinations have resumed."



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.