Saudi-led coalition criticizes UN Yemen rights mission

The Arab coalition has earlier refuted the UN report on Yemen that made a series of accusations against the alliance. (AFP)
Updated 28 September 2018
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Saudi-led coalition criticizes UN Yemen rights mission

  • UN Human Rights Council votes in favor of a resolution that renewed the mission in Yemen for a year.
  • Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki criticized the “inaccuracy of the information in the report.”

LONDON: A UN human rights mission to Yemen had its madate extended on Friday despite criticism from the internationally recognized government and the Arab military coalition that it is biased and relies on inaccurate information.

The coalition battling alongside the government against the Houthi militia said any extension should be decided by the Yemeni administration.

That government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said on Thursday it was ending cooperation with the UN investigation into suspected war crimes during more than three years of conflict, AFP reported.
The United Nations Human Rights Council voted 21 to 8, with 18 abstentions, in favor of a resolution that renewed the investigation for a year.
A report released last month by the investigation was stronly critisized by the Yemen government and the coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Yemeni government said ahead of the vote that it rejected an extension of the mission’s mandate based on the report, which contained a number of inaccuracies.

Human Rights Minister Mohammed Askar said Yemen's own national commission of inquiry had already been successful and "enables us to dispense with any international agencies."

“I believe we tried to show goodwill and gave the experts facilities, but the result was a disappointing report,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat, the sister paper of Arab News.

One of the errors that the report included is that “it named Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi as leader of the revolution even though he is the biggest criminal in Yemen”, Askar said. "We rejected the extension to show that the report is biased."

The Saudi-led coalition also took strong issue with the Aug. 28 report by the panel, which accused both government forces and Houthi militia of violations but said that coalition air strikes had caused “most of the documented civilian casualties” and voiced “serious concerns about the targeting process.”

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki criticized the “inaccuracy of the information in the report, which was derived from non-governmental organizations and the testimonies of some persons whose circumstances are unknown.”

The report “failed to mention Iran’s role in Yemen, and the countless violations perpetrated by the Houthis, both against the Yemeni people and against the kingdom” of Saudi Arabia, Col Al-Maliki said.

“These violations include targeting the Kingdom using Iranian ballistic missiles — aimed at civilian and religious sites,” he added.

The Houthis have fired more than 200 missiles at Saudi Arabia since it intervened in Yemen in March 2015 when the government was forced  into exile as they closed in on his last stronghold. Saudi The coalition accuses Iran of smuggling the missiles through the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida, the entry point for UN aid for millions of civilians.

The UN Human Rights Council, which appointed the panel of experts to investigate human rights violations a year ago.

 


Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

Updated 21 November 2018
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Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

  • A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000
  • To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor

CAIRO: In an attempt to further boost its booming real estate sector and attract foreign investment, Egypt will grant residency permits to foreigners who invest at least $100,000 in the country’s property market.
The growth rate of Egypt’s property market stands at 133 percent in 2018. This has been fueled by strong demand for housing, along with the sporadic launch of residential construction projects.
The minimum investment required to obtain a residency permit is $100,000. A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000. The offer also applies to properties that are still under construction.
Khaled Abbas, the deputy minister of housing, said the procedures for the scheme are being set up in consultation with the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Administration.
To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor, and then signed by an authorized body, such the Urban Communities Authority, the Tourism Development Authority or the governorate in which the property is located. Bank statements must also be provided confirming that the money has been transferred from overseas. The passport office will then approve the period of residence.
Members of the House of Representatives welcomed the announcement as a positive move for Egypt and an incentive for foreign investment, which it is hoped will create jobs and economic opportunities.
Whether the public will be so keen remains to be seen.
“This might be a bit problematic,” said Aly Salem, a resident of Cairo. “The housing demand in Egypt is already high, with the surging youth population and more and more people looking to get married each year. Where will they stay, if foreigners start swooping in and acquiring both residency and a huge housing unit with just $100,000?”
Offering further details, Gen. Kamel Amer, the head of the Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, said foreigners will not have any political rights for the first five years of residency and they will not be eligible to vote for 10 years. He also said spouses and children of investors will not be granted residency unless they live in Egypt.
Spain and Portugal have implemented similar programs in an attempt to boost their property markets. Previously, a foreigner had to live in Egypt for 10 consecutive years to be eligible for naturalization.
The new residency law is part of the efforts to repair the damage to Egypt’s economy caused by severe austerity measures imposed after the $12 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
The cost and size of properties in Egypt, which are often large and lavish apartments, compare favorably to those in many other countries. Despite this, few Egyptians can afford to pay for a house upfront, but some private property developers are offering 10-year, interest-free installment plans.