UN official criticizes restrictions on humanitarian operations in Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-23 06:14:34|Editor: yan
Video PlayerClose

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- A UN relief official on Friday criticized the restrictions as well as blocking and violence that humanitarian operations faced in the areas controlled by the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Ursula Mueller, assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, told the Security Council that despite recent limited improvements, the Houthi authorities continue to enforce a growing number of restrictive regulations on humanitarian action.

She said although UN partners are still able to deliver aid, they need to go through "constant engagement at all levels," often resulting in unacceptable delays for people who need help.

Although some projects have been recently approved, she said, the Houthi authorities are still blocking or delaying half of all NGO projects in areas under their control.

In addition, the Houthis continue their campaign to coerce humanitarian partners into working under conditions that would contradict humanitarian principles and almost certainly result in loss of funding and closure of programs.

The UN official also noted an "alarming increase" in violence and harassment targeting humanitarian workers in areas controlled by the Houthis.

Expounding the matter, she said over the past three months, there have been 60 separate incidents of attacks, intimidation, detention and other forms of mistreatment of humanitarian staff. In several cases, looting of relief supplies and occupation of humanitarian premises has disrupted critical deliveries of aid and services.

Mueller said these issues have all been "directly, clearly and repeatedly" raised with the Houthi authorities, expressing her hope that they "will listen and change course, in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law."