One year ago today, Houthi forces breached the compound used by the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen prior to its suspension of operations in 2015 and began detaining, without justification, Yemeni Locally Employed Staff. As of today, twelve current and former U.S. and UN employees remain detained. Most have had no contact with their families, and one passed away in detention earlier this year.
The ongoing detention of these Yemeni employees shows gross disregard for diplomatic norms and constitutes an affront to the entire international community. The United States will unceasingly continue diplomatic efforts to secure their release, working with our international partners. These actions continue to call into question Houthi willingness to see Yemen return to peace. The UN Security Council has condemned these Houthi actions in the strongest terms, as has the U.S. Congress and many international partners.
The United States is committed to advancing a durable resolution to the Yemen conflict and to ensuring the safety of those who serve the U.S. government. I call on the Houthis to release these Yemeni citizens and return them to their families as a demonstration of their commitment to peace for the people of Yemen and willingness to participate in a future government that respects the rule of law.