Mohammad Askar, Human Rights Minister
Mohammad Askar, Human Rights Minister Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A Yemeni minister has accused Al Houthi militias of obstructing the UN-sponosred Sweden Agreement by bombing civilians, while impeding the flow of and looting aid convoys within the full view of all international organisations operating in Yemen.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council that convened in Geneva late Wednesday to review Yemen’s human rights record, Mohammad Askar, Yemen’s Minister for Human Rights, said that a secure and prosperous future for Yemenis will not be achieved through a fragile political settlement that gives immunity to criminals and allows outlawed militias to keep and bear arms.

“A better future can only materialise by laying down a sound basis for permanent and comprehensive peace that ensures growth and peaceful co-existence for all Yemenis under the three references agreed upon locally, regionally and internationally: GCC Peace Initiative; Outcome of National Dialogue Conference; and the UN Security Council Resolution 2216,” said the minister.

Now that four years passed after their coup against legitimacy, the Houthi militias have perpetrated war crimes and committed flagrant violations of the International Humanitarian Law by killing thousands of people and waging random attacks against hospitals, schools, residential districts and markets, he added.

“Faced with tough challenges and complicated circumstances triggered by the Al Houthi coup, the legitimate government of Yemen has been exerting significant efforts to establish peace, supporting all efforts made by brothers and friends as well as the UN, to forge a peaceful solution to the situation in Yemen and to spare the Yemeni people more suffering and destruction,” he concluded.

Earlier on Wednesday UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash has said that it is no longer tenable for anyone to accuse the Saudi-led coalition of prolonging the war in Yemen or for obstructing the road to peace.

“[It’s] time for the international community, NGOs & press to take off the velvet gloves when addressing Al Houthis’ obdurate behaviour,” Gargash tweeted.

He said that the international community must call a spade a spade.

“The Al Houthi militia is undermining the Sweden agreement & further progress towards peace. Addressing this reality is essential for all to move forward.”

Yemen’s government coalition and rebels agreed to a ceasefire in Hodeida, the Red Sea city seized by Al Houthis in 2014 and home to impoverished Yemen’s most valuable port.

A precarious calm has largely held in the city since a ceasefire agreement came into force on December 18.

However, there has been a fiery exchange between the two rivals in other areas of Yemen which started with a deadly Al Houthi drone attack last week on a Yemeni government military parade which killed at least seven people including the commander of military intelligence.

Strike and counter-strikes The government accuses Al Houthis of a string of violations which is jeopardising progress made in the Sweden talks.

In response, the Saudi-led coalition launched a series of air strikes against targets in Yemen’s Al Houthi-held capital, including a military base and drones facility located at the city’s international airport.

The air strikes last Saturday were the first by the coalition in Sana’a since a deal reached last month between coalitionbacked government and Iran-backed Al Houthis.

The deal provided for a ceasefire and a withdrawal of rival forces from the port city of Hodeida on the Red Sea as well as an exchange of prisoners, but the implementation has run into difficulties with the government accusing the militants of insincere intentions.