Detention of United Nations and non-governmental organization personnel in Yemen

We, the Principals of the affected United Nations (UN) entities and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), call for the immediate and unconditional release of all personnel held in Yemen by the Houthi de facto authorities.

We are extremely concerned about the Houthi de facto authorities’ recent detention of 17 members of our organizations [UN entities and INGOs] and many others associated with civil society organizations, national and international NGOs, and other organizations supporting humanitarian activities.

These detentions are unprecedented – not only in Yemen but globally – and directly impede our ability to reach the most vulnerable people in Yemen, including the 18.2 million people who need humanitarian aid and protection.

We ask the de facto authorities to confirm the exact whereabouts of those detained and the conditions in which they are being held, as well as for immediate access to them.

International law prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of liberty. International Humanitarian Law requires all parties to armed conflict to respect and protect humanitarian personnel, including against harassment, mistreatment, and unlawful arrest or detention.

The targeting of humanitarian, human rights, and development workers in Yemen must stop. All those detained must be immediately released.

Signed by:

Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP

Amitabh Behar, Executive Director (interim), Oxfam International

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO

Catherine Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF

Cindy McCain, Executive Director, WFP

Inger Ashing, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children International

Michelle Nunn, President and CEO, CARE

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO

Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, OHCHR

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