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IS in Yemen threatens to crucify Indian priest

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ISIS

The conflict raging in Yemen has found an echo in India, with fears growing over the alleged abduction of an Indian priest by the Islamic State. Reports are now suggesting that he may be crucified on Good Friday on 25 March. The incident has put the spotlight back on the country, which has been seeing large-scale violence and civilian strife for a year and a half.

Here are the key facts relating to the case:

  • The priest, Father Tom Uzhunnalil was said to have been abducted after militants stormed an old age home on 4 March. The old age home is in Aden in Yemen. The gunmen killed 16 people, including four nuns, in the shootout, UK-based newspaper Daily Mirror reported. Earlier, this month, Missionaries of Charity spokeswoman Sunita Kumar said in Kolkata that Father Tom Uzhunnalil was handcuffed and taken away by the attackers when they stormed the retirement home in Aden.

  • In a Sunday message at Vatican City, Pope Francis called the nuns who were killed as “today’s martyrs” and rued that there appeared to be global indifference towards the incident. “They do not make the front pages of the newspapers, they do not make the news. They have given their blood for the Church,” he said.
  • Church officials from Bengaluru, however, have dismissed reports of his torture as rumours and said that they have “absolutely no information on the priest”, as per the report on the website UCA News. The officials have said that the church is in constant touch with the government and that the foreign ministry is said to have stepped up efforts to locate Father Uzhunnalil.
  • On 6 March, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted-

Yemen has been gripped by violence since September 2014, when Iran-backed Huthi rebels stormed the capital Sana’a and forced the internationally recognised government to flee south to the city of Aden.

More than 6,300 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led coalition began an air war in March last year to push back an offensive by the Huthi rebels, who control Sana’a.

Previous UN-sponsored negotiations between the Shiite rebels and government officials failed to reach a breakthrough, while a ceasefire went into force on 15 December, but it was repeatedly violated and the Saudi-led coalition announced an end to the truce on 2 January.

Source: http://www.firstpost.com

  • Shriya Katoch

    This horrific .ISIS is a major threat to humanity

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Nothing can Stop Disabled Yemenis Women from Participating in Women’s Wheelchair Basketball

Yemen's Women With Disabilities Seek Inclusion Through Wheelchair Basketball

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YEMEN-BASKETBALL
Disabled Yemeni women take part in a local wheelchair basketball championship in Yemen's capital Sanaa. VOA

By Nisan Ahmado

Living through years of Yemen’s devastating war has been a constant struggle for Afaf Mohammed al-Adwar, who uses a wheelchair because of congenital spinal damage.

But she is now determined to demonstrate her ability to cope by participating in a women’s wheelchair basketball championship.

The 16-year-old sportswoman joined dozens of other girls and women with mobility impairment in a wheelchair basketball tournament that was held in Sanaa this month.

She told VOA that her participation was “the first step” toward showing the plight of Yemen’s women and girls with disabilities during four years of civil war between the government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

“We are trying to show people that we are not just disabled, but we are able to do whatever we aspire to,” al-Adwar said.

She said that women and girls with disabilities in Yemen are on the margins of society, excluded from basic humanitarian assistance, while at the same time facing gender-based discrimination.

“The society frowns upon letting girls leave their houses, let alone allowing them to play sports. It was hard for my family at first to let me play, but when they saw me in the games, they started encouraging and supporting me,” she told VOA, adding that she was grateful to be a part of an attempt to change the common mentality of a rather conservative society going through conflict.

Women basketball
Yemeni women are now determined to demonstrate their ability to cope by participating in a women’s wheelchair basketball championship. VOA

Five-team competition

Five teams competed in a weeklong championship that started on December 7 and was sponsored by the Red Cross and other organizations in Yemen working to benefit people with disabilities.

The winners will compete in a regional championship next year in Beirut.

Al-Adwar’s team, al-Tahadi Organization for Supporting Women with Disabilities, came in fourth place and received a special award for their “sport spirit.”

Jihad Hammoud Ahmed Jaber, a spokesperson for the al-Tahadi Organization, told VOA such activities will empower girls and women with disabilities to become active members of their communities. At the same time, they will help change societal perceptions by creating a more inclusive atmosphere for everyone.

“The goal of having a women’s basketball championship was to make the women get out from their isolation, especially amid the ongoing war in the country,” Jaber said. “Those who didn’t allow their daughters to play a sport, we wanted to show them how this can help their daughters physically and mentally and how it can give their daughters strength and empowerment.”

The conflict in Yemen escalated after Iran-backed Houthis overran Sanaa in September 2014. In 2015, the conflict turned into a proxy war when an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched a military and economic campaign against the Houthis.

The United Nations calls the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It has warned that people with disabilities are the country’s most vulnerable, facing immense hardship to get much medical aid or to move from battlefield zones to safer refuges.

Most excluded 

Rights group Amnesty International estimates that the devastating conflict has left 4.5 million Yemenis, or 15% of the country’s population, with some form of disability.  In a 50-page report published this month, the organization concluded that the conflict has limited health services for Yemenis with disabilities and taken away their rights to education and employment opportunities, while adding risks from violence and living in displacement.

It said some people with disabilities were separated from their families and left behind as people fled war “because the trip was too difficult for the person with a disability to undertake.”

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“Yemen’s war has been characterized by unlawful bombings, displacement and a dearth of basic services, leaving many struggling to survive. The humanitarian response is overstretched, but people with disabilities — who are already among those most at risk in armed conflict — should not face even greater challenges in accessing essential aid,” said Rawya Rageh, the group’s crisis adviser.  (VOA)