UN bodies call on Yemen’s Houthis to immediately release detained staff

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The UN on Tuesday called on Yemen’s Houthis to immediately release staff members they detained last month.

The Iran-backed group continues to detain two UN staff members, in addition to US employees they detained in recent months without any legal basis for their detention.

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“The Director General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, and Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, continue to be deeply concerned for the well-being of two of their staff members who were detained in early November in Sanaa, Yemen. No communication from the UN has been possible with the staff members since that time,” a joint statement from UNESCO and the UN Human Rights said.

This comes after the Houthis had promised to release the UN staff.

“OHCHR and UNESCO recall the privileges and immunities accorded to staff of the UN system under international law, which are essential to the proper discharge of their official functions, and call for the staff members’ immediate release without any further delays,” Tuesday’s statement said.

In October, the Houthis detained 30 local Yemeni staff and were subsequently released with the help of Washington’s regional partners, a State Department official previously told Al Arabiya English.

But the group later detained more US employees and others that worked for the United Nations. The exact number of detained US and UN employees remains unknown.

Read more: Iran-backed Houthis continue to detain US, UN employees: State Department

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