Houthis order female aid workers not to travel without male escort, says UN

Special Houthis order female aid workers not to travel without male escort, says UN
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Updated 15 June 2022

Houthis order female aid workers not to travel without male escort, says UN

Houthis order female aid workers not to travel without male escort, says UN
  • The Houthi’s strict rule has impeded the distribution of aid to needy Yemenis
  • The Houthis have imposed tough religious rules targeting women, activists, artists and singers

AL-MUKALLA: The UN has said that the Iran-backed Houthis banned female aid workers with its Yemen-based organizations from traveling without a male escort or mahram, a move that has significantly hindered the distribution of aid in the war-torn country.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its monthly bulletin on the humanitarian situation in Yemen released this week that the Houthis ordered women who work with international organizations not to travel without being escorted by a male relative.

The Houthi’s strict rule has impeded the distribution of aid to needy Yemenis and other humanitarian operations inside the Houthi-controlled areas.

“Significantly, requirements for mahrams — male guardians accompanying female aid workers when traveling on missions — have reportedly increased in Ansar Allah-controlled areas, significantly affecting field mission and the implementation of activities,” the organization said using the official name of the Houthis, adding that insecurity in the government-controlled areas also led to temporary suspending humanitarian assistance in Yemen.

During the past two years, the Houthis have imposed tough religious rules targeting women, activists, artists and singers in their territory.

The Houthis banned women from mingling with men in public places, cafes, universities and restaurants, banned singers from singing at weddings, rounded up women for dress code infringements and ordered women not to travel or work without a male guardian.

In March, the Yemeni organization Mwatana for Human Rights said that Houthi-manned checkpoints at the entrances of Houthi-controlled cities harass and question unaccompanied women and demand men who travel with women to prove they are siblings.

The latest Houthi laws have irked Yemeni activists who warned that many women in the Houthi-controlled areas would be thrown out of work.

Zafaran Zaid, a Yemeni human rights activist and lawyer who was sentenced to death in absentia by a Houthi-run court, told Arab News on Wednesday that the Houthis, who refuse to pay public servants or provide people with jobs, would aggravate the humanitarian crisis and the suffering of Yemenis by depriving thousands of women of getting good jobs with international organizations.

“The Iran-backed Houthi militia increases the suffering of women, especially with regard to opportunities to improve livelihoods and job opportunities in the public and private sectors,” she said, adding that the Houthis punished bus and taxi drivers in Sanaa for ferrying unescorted women.

In April, residents in the Houthi heartland city of Saada said that all-female morality police officers detained dozens of women for shopping without male companions or shopping in male-only places.


Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry

Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry
Updated 6 sec ago

Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry

Palestinian killed in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian ministry
  • Israeli military say soldiers came under fire during a raid in the town
  • Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories Presse: A Palestinian man was killed Friday by Israeli forces during a raid in the north of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Salah Sawafta, 58, “died of critical wounds, sustained by live bullets from the occupation (Israeli military) in the head, in Tubas this morning,” a ministry statement said.
The Israeli military said soldiers came under fire during a raid in the town.
During an operation in “Tubas, several suspects hurled Molotov cocktails and opened fire at (Israeli) troops, who responded with fire,” the army said in a statement, adding “hits were identified.”
The mayor of Tubas, Hossam Daraghmeh, said Sawafta had been leaving dawn prayers when he was shot.
“He left the mosque and was heading to his house wearing a prayer robe. There was a vengeful soldier stationed in a building near the municipality who shot him in the head,” he said.
Daraghmeh said Sawafta had been unarmed when he was hit.
“This man did not have a stone or anything in his hand,” he said.
The Israeli military said five people were detained in overnight raids across the West Bank.
On Thursday, a 20-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli troops during clashes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967, when it seized the territory from Jordan.

Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense

Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense
Updated 52 sec ago

Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense

Algeria wildfires ‘all under control’: civil defense
Algiers: Wildfires, which killed at least 38 people and left a trail of destruction in eastern Algeria this week, are now under control, a civil defense official told AFP on Friday.
“All of the fires have been completely brought under control,” said fire brigade Col. Farouk Achour, of the civil defense department.
Since the beginning of August, almost 150 blazes have destroyed hundreds of hectares (acres) of forest in Africa’s largest country.
Deadly fires have become an annual scourge in Algeria, where climate change has turned large areas of forest into a tinderbox in the blistering summer months.
The justice ministry launched an inquiry after Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud suggested some of the fires were started deliberately, and authorities on Thursday announced four arrests of suspected arsonists.
Authorities have been accused of being ill-prepared, with few firefighting aircraft available despite record casualties in last year’s blazes and a cash windfall from gas exports with global energy prices soaring.

UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion

UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion
Updated 57 min 25 sec ago

UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion

UAE’s foreign aid over past year totalled $3.5 billion

DUBAI: The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), said on Thursday that the total value of foreign aid provided by the UAE from the start of 2021 to mid-August 2022 amounted to some $3.5 billion.
While Yemen accounted for most of the Emirati foreign aid with over $315 million, the list also included several Arab, Asian and Western countries, state news agency WAM reported.
A range of sectors and programmes received aid from the UAE, including public and health sectors, social services, and education.
Programmes aimed at supporting peace and security received over $74 million, and the water and public health services sectors received $72 million, government and civil society initiatives received nearly $60 million, and services that support the energy sector received some $57 million, and initiatives aimed at supporting the agriculture sector received over $50 million.


Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk

Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk
Updated 19 August 2022

Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk

Iraq security forces thwart Daesh attack in Kirkuk

DUBAI: Security forces have thwarted a Daesh attack in the northern Iraqi region of Kirkuk.

“A group of ISIS remnants attacked a security point in the village of Khabaza, affiliated to Hawija district, southwest of Kirkuk, before they were confronted by a force from the 61st Brigade of the Popular Mobilization,” the Popular Mobilization Forces said in a statement carried by state media Iraqi News Agency.

“One of the brigade’s fighters was shot during the attack, and the point was reinforced strongly from the brigade’s headquarters and from its third regiment,” the statement added.

Iraqi security forces have undertaken extensive operations against Daesh to prevent their resurgence since declaring their defeat in 2017.

Iraqi anti-terror resistance groups have repeatedly warned that remnants of Daesh active in Syria’s east may find unhindered access to the Iraqi border and infiltrate the country to conduct militant activities.


Kuwait and US officials discuss bilateral ties

Kuwait and US officials discuss bilateral ties
Updated 19 August 2022

Kuwait and US officials discuss bilateral ties

Kuwait and US officials discuss bilateral ties

Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister, Ambassador Majid Al-Dhafiri, met with Charge d’Affairs of the US Embassy in Kuwait Jim Holtsnider, state news agency (KUNA) reported.

During the meeting, both officials discussed bilateral relations and reviewed the latest regional and global developments of common interest.