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4 Jul, 2019 09:00

Houthis fear Saudis can exploit UN-gathered biometrics ‘in military fashion’ in Yemen

Houthis fear Saudis can exploit UN-gathered biometrics ‘in military fashion’ in Yemen

A UN food agency is suspending work in Yemen after failing to seal a deal on biometrics from locals. The Houthi rebels fear that the data could be used by the Saudi-led coalition for war purposes, a campaigner told RT.

Nearly 10 million people are suffering from “extreme levels of hunger” in war-torn Yemen, according to the UN. But last month, the UN World Food Programme announced that it will suspend its activities in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, which is controlled by Houthi rebels.

The move comes after the agency failed to secure a deal with the Houthis to introduce a biometrics system it said would “prevent diversion” of food from starving people in the devastated country. The Houthis accused the agency of politicizing aid while doing the bidding of the Saudi-led coalition, whose members are among the chief funders of the food program.

Also on rt.com UK report on ‘human rights’ forgets to mention Saudi Arabia in section on Yemen war

Anti-war campaigner Jonathon Shafi told RT that the rebel authorities have concerns that the requested personal data of millions of Yemenis, “including military officers and soldiers,” could be exploited by the Saudi-led coalition “in a military fashion.”

The fear is that handing out this information over to the World Food Programme [may lead it to] end up in the hands of the Saudi-led coalition.

At the same time, international aid remains vital to Yemen, which has been brought to the brink of starvation by the civil war and the Saudi-led intervention, Shafi said.

There is a dire need for food aid to get through.

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