UN replaces High Commissioner for Human Rights on Houthi’ pressure

June 13, 2020

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) has terminated its contract with its representative in Yemen, Al-Obaid Ahmed Al-Obaid, at the request of the Houthi militia.According to Saudi-owned television station Al Arabiya, the UN has succumbed to pressure from the Houthi after months of fighting the commissioner and has informed him of his dismissal.

On Wednesday, the Houthi militia stormed the United Nations building in Sana’a by closing the office, to justify the way the UNHCR coordinator refused to cooperate.In a press release, the Human Rights Minister of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, Muhammad Askar, asked the United Nations not to give in to the bargaining and blackmail of the Houthi militias, who want to change the director of the Office of the High commissioner in Yemen.

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner replaced its chief in Yemen, Elobaid Ahmed Elobaid, nearly nine months a fter the Houthis, who control northern Yemen, denied him entry. Un documents confirm. OHCHR notified the Yemen mission in Geneva of the replacement of Elobaid without giving reasons.A Yemeni document dated Wednesday showed the Yemeni mission in Geneva notifying Yemen’s Foreign Ministry of the appointment of Elobaid’s deputy, Abeer al-Khraisha, as chief of mission.

Houthis occupied the capital Sanaa in 2014 and have been at war with the internationally recognized government and its backers, a Saudi-led coalition, over the past five years.Elobaid was denied entry into the country on Sept. 30 last year in the aftermath of a damning U.N. report detailing abuses by all parties in Yemen’s civil war, including sexual violence against women in Houthi-run prisons.After landing in Sanaa, Elobaid’s plane was ordered to leave after security officers boarded the jet and withdrew his travel permit.

Houthi rebels have obstructed the work of U.N. humanitarian agencies, using visas and travel permits as bargaining chips to control U.N. operations in the country.Earlier this month, the world body failed to obtain enough funds from international donors to support its humanitarian operation in Yemen amid the pandemic.U.N. officials and donors have cited the Houthis’ obstruction of humanitarian work as one of the main reasons behind cuts in donations, which threatens to deprive millions of Yemenis of aid.

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