Give the UN a pat on the back

Give the UN a pat on the back


By Sarah Hassan

Finally! The UN is criticizing a crime the Houthis have done.

The Houthis, the Shiit lookalike of ISIL, have besieged the pro-government and third largest city of Taiz for six years, committing non-stopping atrocities against its residents, en mass and individually.

The UN peace mediators including the incumbent Martin Griffiths have a tendency to ignore that. Griffiths is the one who turns blind eye the most to these massacres and abuses as he hasn't been heard criticizing Houthi acts in Taiz before. Nor has he visited the strangled city to now since his appointment as UNSG's Special Envoy for the country on February 16, 2018! He mostly spends his time in Yemen in the militant-controlled Sana'a.

Although the Houthi shelling of a women-only prison – and killing and injury of 30 prisoners and children who happened to visit their jailed mothers - on Sunday was not unique of its kind among the Houthi continual atrocities, the growing criticism of the UN constant silence probably embarrassed the UN officials into talking and coming up with a rare comment

"I condemn the heinous attack on Taiz's central prison which killed and injured several women and children," tweeted Griffiths without pointing fingers to, let alone, criticizing the Houthis. For some reason, he always avoids naming and blaming Houthis, the cause of the Yemeni six-year misery. But yesterday's criticism of the prison shelling was a good start.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Lisa Grande, who in Yemen is widely seen like an ideologue in the Houthi movement also broke the rules yesterday. She had this to say about the prison carnage: "


"We share our deepest condolences with families who are grieving for their loved ones and we wish the injured a swift recovery”, said  Lise Grande , the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen in her rare criticism of a Houthi crime

The UN  human rights chief , Michelle Bachelet, the UN official indicated the Houthi responsibility and said the attack "appears to be in breach of international humanitarian law, and depending on the circumstances could amount to a war crime.” 

Of course, the Houthi atrocities never cease. On early Monday, just hours after the women inmates massacre, the militia's snipers shot dead a 10 year old boy and injured his eight-year-old brother in downtown the besieged city. A very disturbing picture of the slain boy broke the hearts of Yemeni social media users.

In the afternoon of the same day, the extremist snipers shot dead Sahar Nasr Qayed, a 24-year-old girl, who happened to be doing her daily chores in front of her house in Maqbana, west of the city.   Throughout last night, rocket shelling on Madarat area west of the city continued unabated.

The Houthi atrocities are most likely to continue as ever. Amidst these dark times, we however have a glimmer of hope:  that the UN is starting to leave the prejudice zone and express disapproval of the Shiit ISIL's handiwork

It is a rare condemnation, but multiple UN officials, long perceived as pro-Houthi ideologues, banded together and voiced it in the face of the Houthis. This is in itself a well-received first step. Let's give the UN a pat on the back for making it.

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