Yemen monitor, UK condemn Houthi discrimination against other groups

The persecution of members of the Baha’i community in areas of Yemen under Houthi control due to their religious beliefs is a serious violation of international human rights law. (File/AFP)
Updated 27 September 2018
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Yemen monitor, UK condemn Houthi discrimination against other groups

  • Houthi militia elements discriminate against Yemeni people who do not belong to their tribe
  • The UK also expressed deep concern by reports that the Houthi authorities in Sanaa held a mass trial of members of Yemen’s Baha’i community

DUBAI: Houthi militia elements discriminate against Yemeni people who do not belong to their tribe, Saudi state TV Al-Ekhbariya has reported, quoting a statement from the Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations.

“The Houthi militia considers discrimination a part of its religious heritage,” the human rights group said, explaining that the Iran-backed group practices violence against other sects and religions.

The statement stressed that the Houthi militias have become a threat to coexistence and social peace in Yemen.

The Houthis forced the displacement of many Yemeni families from their homes, which have been racially motivated, the group claimed.

Earlier this week, the UK also expressed deep concern by reports that the Houthi authorities in Sanaa held a mass trial of members of Yemen’s Baha’i community. The Houthis tried 24 people, including eight women and a child, and charged them with sentences that could result in death.

The Baha’i community has been harassed for years but activists say their situation is becoming increasingly dangerous under the rule of the Iranian-backed militia.

The Baha’i faith is a small monotheistic religion which began in Iran in the 1800s.

“The persecution of members of the Baha’i community in areas of Yemen under Houthi control due to their religious beliefs is a serious violation of international human rights law,” Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, said.

“New cases of arbitrary detention and continuing reports of the abuse of detainees by the Houthis are deeply concerning, and we wholly condemn this mistreatment,” he added.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said they are working closely with partners to press for the release of detained individuals and called on their partners to take a strong stance on this matter during the Human Rights Council this week.


UN Syria envoy to step down next month

Updated 40 min 20 sec ago
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UN Syria envoy to step down next month

  • “I will myself be moving on as of the last week of November,” Staffan de Mister said
  • He said he was leaving for “purely personal reasons”

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations envoy for Syria announced on Wednesday he will step down at the end of November after more than four years in the key post, setting back UN efforts to end the seven-year war in Syria
“I will myself be moving on as of the last week of November,” Staffan de Mistura told the UN Security Council during a meeting on the crisis in Syria.
The Italian-Swedish diplomat, who became the UN’s third Syria envoy in July 2014, said he was leaving for “purely personal reasons” and had discussed his plans to leave with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“I am not laying down the charge until the last hour of the last day of my mandate,” he said.
De Mistura will be traveling to Damascus next week to push for the creation of a committee to agree on a post-war constitution for Syria.
Syria is resisting the UN-led effort to set up the constitutional committee that will be comprised of government officials, opposition members and representatives of civil society.
De Mistura was appointed UN envoy for Syria in July 2014 after veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi resigned following the failure of peace talks in Geneva.
Brahimi spent two years in the position, stepping in after former UN chief Kofi Annan quit just six months into the role.
More than 360,000 people have died in the war in Syria, which began in March 2011 as an uprising against President Bashar Assad but has since morphed into a complex war with myriad armed groups, some of which have foreign backing.