Saudi Arabia, UAE ramp up support for Yemen

The total humanitarian support provided by the Kingdom to Yemen during the past four years amounted to more than $13 billion. (SPA)
Updated 13 September 2018
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Saudi Arabia, UAE ramp up support for Yemen

  • The response had been ramped up to meet the most urgent needs of thousands of displaced families
  • The Iran-backed Houthis had been involved in killings, torture, abduction and the illegal detention of people including women and children

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose aid contribution represents more than half of UN humanitarian targets, have scaled up their responses to the crisis in Yemen, said Mohammed Askar, Yemeni minister of human rights, on Wednesday.

The response had been ramped up to meet the most urgent needs of thousands of displaced families, especially because of the fighting in Hodeidah, the strategic port city through which 80 percent of food and aid are delivered into Yemen.

Askar gave an overview of the conditions of people in Yemen caused by the Iran-backed Houthi militias. He said that “Saudi Arabia and the UAE have provided half of the humanitarian response set by the UN Humanitarian Needs Document for 2018, which is estimated at $3 billion.”

The minister said: “Saudi Arabia also provided $2 billion as bank deposit to curb the collapse of the national currency and stimulate the economy of that strife-torn country.” 

The Kingdom had also responded to WHO and UNICEF by making available $66.7 million to combat cholera. “This is in addition to $60 million for power and water plants, and supplies,” he said.

Referring to other countries that have extended aid to Yemen; Askar said: “We do not forget the great humanitarian roles played by several nations, especially Kuwait and Sudan.” 

“Moreover, we are working closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR),” he added, while calling on all parties to ensure the physical safety of civilians and their freedom of movement.

He said that “our relationship with the office of the UNHCR focuses on exchange of information and reports, while we jointly seek to protect and promote human rights in Yemen.”

The UNHCR has opened an office in Aden and is working to build the capacity of Yemen’s National Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations, enabling Yemeni personnel to attend training courses in Geneva and in Beirut.

The Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights facilitated the work of the UNHCR team in the liberated areas, he said. “The Yemeni ministry and the UNHCR have pledged to work together to strengthen links and enhance joint work in order to achieve the objectives which we both share.” 

The Iran-backed Houthi militias had launched a genocide in Yemen, further compounding the problems, he said.

The Iran-backed Houthis had been involved in killings, torture, abduction and the illegal detention of people including women and children. The number of detainees, who are still in the prisons of Houthi militants, exceedes 2,600, while a large number of men, women and children are either missing or were in secret prisons of the militants, he said. The Houthi militants have also killed more than 1,372 children and 814 women since the war broke out in Yemen in 2014.


Saudi Arabia’s crown prince orders restoration and renovation of 130 historical mosques

Updated 27 min 16 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s crown prince orders restoration and renovation of 130 historical mosques

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered the restoration of 130 historical mosques within the National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques supervised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) in partnership with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance.
The support he provided to develop historical mosques covered in the first phase the restoration of 30 mosques in 10 regions, at a cost of more than SR50 million ($13 million).
The National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques is one of the programs adopted by Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of SCTH and founder of Al-Turath Charitable Foundation, as part of his concern to take care of and serve mosques and the Islamic architectural heritage. The foundation has undertaken to document and restore a number of mosques of historical value since its launching of the program in 1998.
The program has received the support of the country’s leaders, businessmen benefactors and the regions’ governors. King Salman sponsored the launching of the program to restore and renovate historical mosques in Ad Diriyah and Jeddah, and donated the renovation costs of Al-Hanafi mosque in Jeddah.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s support for the historical mosques comes from his belief in their importance in the Islamic religion and architectural heritage along with the historical, social and cultural richness they represent.
The crown prince’s support is considered the most generous in the Kingdom’s history, given the number of mosques and the overall cost since the launching of the program 20 years ago. The support is in coordination and partnership with SCTNH’s National Program for the Restoration of Historic Mosques, which was launched by the Al-Turath Charitable Foundation before it became a joint program with the SCTH and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, three years ago.
The crown prince’s project for the development of historical mosques will reinforce concern to develop the Kingdom’s historical and heritage regions and restore the mosques to receive worshippers again after they have been abandoned in previous years. The Kingdom has witnessed a rapid architectural growth and thus has neglected most of the old and historical mosques and destroyed some others, which are bein replaced by new mosques. The program will take care of these neglected mosques.
Work teams have started formulating the project action plan under the directions of the crown prince. The first phase covers 30 mosques that will be restored: Each mosque will be ready to receive more than 4,000 worshippers.
The crown prince’s support for this program is among many other contributions to societal and human projects, including the SR100 million donation for charitable associations and his support for the release of prisoners with SR19 million.