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Yemen no longer expelling top UN representative from country

[JURIST] The government of Yemen [JURIST news archive] on Friday informed the UN [official website] that it would be rescinding its order expelling the top UN human rights representative from the country. Yemen's UN Ambassador Khaled Alyemany had previously sent a letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] that the Yemen government had decided to continue to enforce its decision that the representative, George Abu al-Zulof, is a persona non grata. The letter stated that there were "excesses" in the rights exercised by the rights office that led to the government requesting al-Zulof be replaced, but due to the "fuss created around the matter," the government had decided to put more time [AP report] into considering changing its decision. Prior to being informed of this change, UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] on Friday strongly urged [UN news report] the government of Yemen to reverse its decision, stating that it was "unwarranted, counter-productive and damaging to the reputation of the Government and its coalition partners."

The rapidly deteriorating situation in Yemen has sparked significant international concern. Earlier this week Ban Ki-moon warned [JURIST report] that the use of cluster bombs by a Saudi-led coalition against neighborhoods in Yemen may amount to a war crime. Also this month the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said [JURIST report] that the civilian death toll in Yemen has reached nearly 2,800 over nine months of fighting. Last month the UN World Food Programme appealed to all the 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.

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