[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Sunday released a report [text] saying that Houthi authorities in Yemen have arbitrarily detained at least 35 people in the country's capital, Sanaa. The rights group further states that the individuals have been in custody for over a year, and that several appear to have been held for their connections to a political party that opposes the Zaidi Shia Houthis. The Houthis have had control over the capital of Yemen since September 2014. HRW has called for the release of those who are being held arbitrarily and for the provision of lawyers and access to family for those held to prevent further human rights abuses. Abdul Basit Ghazi, a Yemeni lawyer who heads the Defense Authority of the Abductees and Prisoners, told HRW that he is working on behalf of 800 people who are being detained, many of whom are members of the Sunni political party Islah.
The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen has sparked significant international concern. Last month the UN World Food Programme appealed to all parties involved in the Yemen conflict to allow the safe passage of food [JURIST report] to the city of Taiz where people have been going hungry for weeks. In October Amnesty International called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes surrounding the destruction of a hospital [JURIST report] run by Doctors Without Borders in Yemen. Also in October human rights organizations criticized the UN Human Rights Council for passing a resolution on Yemen that did not call for an independent international war crimes investigation [JURIST report].