Yemeni decision to expel human rights official condemned by UN chief

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the press. UN File Photo/Amanda Voisard

The Yemeni government's decision to expel the top UN human rights official in the country has been condemned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

The representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Yemen (OHCHR), George Abu al-Zulof, was declared persona non grata on Thursday.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr Ban said that in banning the UN's senior human rights official, the government of Yemen was "failing to uphold its obligations" and damaging the chances of the war-torn country from returning to a state of "peace and stability."

More than nine months of fighting between government forces and Houthi rebels, who have taken control of much of the country, have resulted in nearly 3,000 civilian deaths.

Mr Ban said he was concerned for the safety of remaining national and international UN staff in the country, and added that he had "full confidence" in the work of his representative in Yemen.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, urged the government to reverse its decision, saying that both sides in the conflict had committed violations.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia, is carrying out airstrikes against rebel forces, and UN agencies have been documenting human rights abuses as well as trying to deliver aid to civilians caught up in the fighting.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 52″

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