New York

7 January 2016

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Yemen

The Secretary-General condemns the decision of the Government of Yemen today to expel from the country the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He is also extremely concerned about the safety of the remaining national and international staff.

The Secretary-General recalls that the people of Yemen have suffered grave human rights violations. OHCHR is actively and effectively helping to document these violations and promote and protect their rights, while strengthening justice and accountability. Respect for human rights is absolutely essential for long-term peace and stability. By impeding the United Nations' human rights work, the Government is failing to uphold its obligations. Doing so can only be harmful for the country's return to peace and stability.

In keeping with the Human Rights Up Front Initiative, the Secretary-General stresses that United Nations staff must never be threatened or sanctioned for doing their work, which is based on the United Nations Charter.

The Secretary-General reiterates his full confidence in the representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sana’a and urges the Government of Yemen to reconsider its position on his expulsion.