Immediate Release of All Detainees by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) Group Authorities Demanded

Wide-Scale Arrest Campaign Targets Employees of International and Local Organizations

Sunday, June 9, 2024
Immediate Release of All Detainees by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) Group Authorities Demanded

In a statement today, Mwatana for Human Rights has called on the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group to immediately and unconditionally release dozens of Yemeni employees working for international and local organizations, as well as commercial companies. The Ansar Allah authorities have detained employees from various entities, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, the National Democratic Institute, the Social Fund for Development, Yemen Partners, the Civil Alliance for Peace, Deep Root Foundation, Resonate Yemen, the World Health Organization, among others, in a broad arrest campaign.

Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights, stated, "The ongoing detention campaigns by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group against employees of international and local organizations and the private sector, which lack the minimum legal procedures and guarantees provided by Yemeni legislation and international conventions, undermine the rights of those detained. These actions deliver another blow to the humanitarian and relief work in Yemen, which is already witnessing an unprecedented contraction of its critical programs, activities, and operations for millions of people."

Al-Mutawakel added, "These campaigns not only spread fear and panic among civil society and their families but also among the broader Yemeni society. Therefore, they must stop immediately."

Since early June, the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group authorities have raided the homes and offices of employees from several international and local organizations, confiscating and searching their phones and electronic devices without disclosing any charges against them. Witnesses report that the raids occurred at different times during the night, after unexpectedly surrounding these homes and offices. The fate and locations of the detainees have not been disclosed since their arrest, and they have been denied contact with their lawyers or families, making them victims of enforced disappearance. Among the detainees are two women, one of whom has been detained along with her husband and two children, aged three years and nine months.

The United Nations, through its spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, confirmed the detention and disappearance of 11 Yemeni employees working for UN agencies in Yemen by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group. Dujarric expressed deep concern over these developments and stated that “the UN is actively seeking clarification from the de facto Houthi authorities regarding the circumstances of these arrests and is working to secure immediate access to the detained UN employees. The UN is using all available channels to ensure their safe and unconditional release as quickly as possible.”

Mwatana for Human Rights calls on the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group to immediately and unconditionally release all detained employees of local and international organizations and the private sector. It also urges an end to all practices that undermine the rule of law, and the freedom and independence of civil and humanitarian work, which erode trust in law enforcement institutions and instill fear in the community.