Published: 11:57, December 29, 2021 | Updated: 14:23, December 29, 2021
UN top envoy says Yemen violence escalation worst in years
By Xinhua

This picture taken on Dec 21, 2021 shows a general view of destruction following a reported air strike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting the Huthi rebel-held Yemeni capital's Sanaa International Airport. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS - Hans Grundberg, the special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Yemen, said on Tuesday that escalating violence in the country has been "among the worst" in recent years, and civilians are increasingly being targeted.

Airstrikes on Sana'a have resulted in civilian deaths and damage to noncombatant infrastructure, he said.

The continuing offensive on Marib, where at least 35,000 people have fled since September, and the unabated missile attacks on the governorate are causing civilian casualties, damage to civilian objects, and mass displacements.

2021 ends on a bittersweet note for the Yemeni people, millions of whom are suffering from poverty, hunger, and severe restrictions on their freedom of movement.

Hans Grundberg, the special envoy of the UN secretary-general for Yemen

Furthermore, the special envoy expressed concern about sustained attacks against Saudi Arabia, which have resulted in civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure.

"Any targeting of civilians and civilian objects as well as indiscriminate attacks by any actor is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and must stop immediately," he said.

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A political settlement that is sustainable is undermined by the escalation, according to Grundberg.

He said that violations of international humanitarian and human rights law cannot go unpunished.

In addition, the UN envoy highlighted the grim impact on an already precarious humanitarian situation, saying that "2021 ends on a bittersweet note for the Yemeni people, millions of whom are suffering from poverty, hunger, and severe restrictions on their freedom of movement."

The UN has called for the opening of Sana'a airport and the removal of obstacles preventing Yemenis from moving between governorates and within them.

Grundberg stated that he stands ready to work with the parties in seeking immediate solutions, addressing humanitarian needs, and enabling a political process.

In parallel coverage, Audrey Azoulay, director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and Michelle Bachelet, high commissioner for human rights, expressed their deep concern for the well-being of two staff members who were detained in Sana'a early last month.

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Azoulay and Bachelet confirmed in a statement that they have not been able to communicate with the staff since then.