Hadramout21:Asharq Al-Awsat

The Iran-backed Houthi militias have ceased all activity by non-Houthi affiliated civil society groups in the Yemeni capital Sanaa

The move is aimed at monopolizing such humanitarian work and exploiting them for their sectarian purposes

Houthi leader Ahmed Hamed ordered the Houthi ministry of social affairs in Sanaa to stop issuing permits to any voluntary humanitarian work except to those linked to the militias

The Houthis had sought throughout the past three years to establish dozens of local organizations under the guise of humanitarian work

These groups have been tasked with seizing international aid and abusing them to lure new recruits to serve their sectarian agenda

Activists told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthis have always cracked down on humanitarian work that is not affiliated to them even if they have proper permits

Moreover, the militias have kidnapped a number of activists in Sanaa and Hajjah, laying various false charges against them, while all they have been seeking was to alleviate the suffering of the people

Head of the humanitarian center for studies and media Mohammed al-Maqrami accused the Houthis of extorting humanitarian organizations in Sanaa

The militias have also shut a number of local and international agencies that have not complied to their policies, he added

This has consequently compounded the suffering of the people

The recent Houthi move is tantamount to “mass punishment” against the civilians, he said

Activists appealed through Asharq Al-Awsat to Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande to intervene and pressure the militias to lift all restrictions imposed on relief and humanitarian work