Yemeni minister lambasts Iran, Houthis for killing 1,372 children

Saudi security forces keep watch along the border with Yemen in the Al-Khubah area in the southern Jazan province. (AFP/File)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Yemeni minister lambasts Iran, Houthis for killing 1,372 children

  • Houthis have ruthlessly killed 1,372 children and 814 women since war broke out in Yemen in 2014
  • Hundreds of children and women have been killed also from March to August this year, says Yemeni minister

A senior Yemeni official has put Iran and Iranian-backed Houthi militias on notice, revealing for the first time that Houthis have ruthlessly killed 1,372 children and 814 women since war broke out in Yemen in 2014. 

Mohammed Askar, the Yemeni human rights minister, said: “Hundreds of children and women have been killed also from March to August this year.” The killings are being documented by the ministry in the form of a report to be released soon, he said.

Askar, while appreciating the support of Saudi Arabia and the Arab coalition, said: “The Kingdom and the UAE together have provided half of the humanitarian aid and assistance as per the target set by the UN for 2018. 

“Saudi Arabia has also provided a $2 billion bank deposit to curb the collapse of Yemen’s national currency and to stimulate the economy,” said Askar, referring to the continuous humanitarian support extended by Riyadh.

In a toughly worded warning, Askar also lambasted the destabilizing behavior of Iran, noting the observation of a UN panel, which said that the Houthis are using “winning weapons including missiles and anti-tank guns smuggled from Iran. 

“Iran has succeeded in turning the Houthis into a military tool that threatens international peace and security, especially in the navigational corridors of Yemen like Bab Al-Mandab and adjoining waters.”

Askar said: “Iran finds in the collapse of countries (like Yemen) an ideal opportunity to export its ideology of Khomeini revolution, and expand its regional influence.” 

The Iran-Houthi nexus has led to the killings of more than 814 innocent Yemeni women since 2014 as well as 89 detainees, who died in the Houthi-run illegal prisons due to torture and even executions,” he added.

“Iran has poured funds and arms in a fervent bid to expand their hegemony in the region. The Iranian intransigence has kept the war raging, which has shattered the lives of Yemenis,” he said. 

He pointed out that a large number of civilians, including women and children, have been arrested and kept in illegal detention centers by Houthis.

“This year alone until today, 12 detainees have been killed by Houthis in their prisons,” said the minister.

Asked about the systematic genocide committed by Houthi militants, Askar said: “The Houthis have transformed a large number of schools and hospitals into military barracks and prison houses. 

“The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights has documented 13,389 dead, including 1,372 children, since the Houthis declared war and stormed the capital Saana on Dec. 12, 2014, until February this year.”

He said the total number of arrests since the beginning of the coup exceeds 21,706. “The number of detainees, who are still in the prisons of the militias, exceeds 2,652; while a large number of men, women and children are either missing or languishing in secret prisons of the Houthi militants,” said the minister, putting a question mark on the fate of more than 17 journalists abducted and imprisoned by the Houthi militias.

The Houthis, he said, have also abducted 941 people since January. “While these numbers are documented by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights, undocumented cases will be much higher,” he noted. 

On the question of UN intervention to secure the release of detainees, who are mostly Yemeni activists, academics, politicians, and journalists; Askar said that the UN Resolution 2216, which has mentioned the detainees, has called for their release. But the Houthis have not released them so far, he said, expressing his grave concerns.


Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

Updated 47 min 31 sec ago
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Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

  • Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week
  • The Grazia Middle East Style Awards will this year take place in Riyadh

RIYADH: Emerging Saudi fashion designers will get a chance to showcase their work alongside internationally renowned peers — including Yahya Couture, Yuliya Yanina and Lama Askari — during the second edition of Saudi Fashion Week, which runs from October 21 to 25, 2018.

The dates were revealed by the event’s founder, Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, who made a statement with her choice of outfit for the official announcement: a black abaya with a traditional Saudi hand embroidered, red design.

The princess, who is honorary president of the Arab Fashion Council in Saudi Arabia, said she always dreamed of being part of the fashion industry and is working hard to help the dreams ofothers come true as well, by supporting local designers,providing them with a platform on which to showcase their creativity, and supplying them with the tools they need to succeed.

“This fashion week is sponsored by the GCA and we want to highlight our Saudi culture,” she said when asked how the second edition will differ from the inaugural event in April 2018. “Every designer is unique and designs in a different way. Our culture is not only about wearing an abaya; it’s what makes you comfortable as a person.

“We have more local names coming out and a program to support emerging designers. This is a platform with which we support Saudi designers, in their country, which they represent.”

However, it also embraces the wider international fashion industry, as well.

“it’s an exchange of cultures. It’s a platform for Saudi and other countries,” said Princess Noura. “When we speak about fashion, it’s a mirror that reflects our culture and modernity.”

To help launch the careers of Saudis who are just starting out in the fashion industry, a “Top emerging Saudi designers” program has been developed, and the country’s fashion community has chosen six designers to participate, some of whom are recentcollege graduates. It will offer them support and give them real-world experience of the fashion industry.

Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week, with three runway shows each day, beginning at 8pm. In addition, a fashion festival featuring pop-up stores will run throughout the event. The Grazia Middle East Style Awards, which is usually held in Dubai, will this year take place in Riyadh on the final day of Saudi Fashion Week.

“I want every designer in Saudi Arabia to not be afraid and to come out and show what they are made of. Be Brave,” added Princess Noura.