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Statements Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN entities demand immediate release of staff detained in Yemen

14 November 2023

It has been two years since two staff of UNESCO and the UN Human Rights Office were detained in Sana'a, Yemen. Since then, we have not received information about the reasons for their detention or their status, even though the Ansar Allah movement (also called Houthis) have repeatedly assured that their release would be imminent.

In August and October 2023, two more UNESCO and UN Human Rights Office colleagues, the latter a UN Volunteer, were detained in Sana’a, without information about the reasons for their detention or their whereabouts.

This is a profoundly alarming situation as it reveals a complete disregard for the rule of law.

These unacceptable detentions by the Ansar Allah movement are violations of the privileges and immunities accorded to UN staff under international law.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, and the Executive Coordinator of the UN Volunteers programme, Toily Kurbanov, reiterate their demand for the immediate release of their staff members and all other people illegally detained by the de facto authority.

For more information and media requests, please contact

Seif Magango - +254 788 343 897 / [email protected]

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