Sanaa University staff remain without salaries

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa

Yemeni university students attend a graduation ceremony in Sanaa on May 24th, 2017. [Muhammad Huwais/AFP]

Yemeni university students attend a graduation ceremony in Sanaa on May 24th, 2017. [Muhammad Huwais/AFP]

Sanaa University faculty and staff have not been paid for a year and a half, as the Iranian regime backed-Houthis (Ansarallah) have withheld their salaries and prevented them from attempting to collect them from the legitimate government in Aden.

The Houthis detained a number of Sanaa University professors at the Naqeel Yasleh checkpoint on June 19th as they were attempting to travel to Aden to try and collect their salaries at the Central Bank in the city.

Sanaa University's Union of University Faculty and their Assistants demanded that the Houthis immediately release the professors, said Hisham Naji, a member of the union's administrative board.

The Houthis released the professors on June 24th.

"We went on strike for several months [over the past year and a half], but unfortunately the Houthis did not respond to us and disburse our salaries, except once, in December 2016," Naji told Al-Mashareq.

Faculty members of other universities in areas controlled by the Houthis also have been deprived of their salaries, he said, "so we contacted the legitimate government in Aden to have our salaries disbursed".

"Most professors have no source of income other than from teaching in universities or working with international organisations," Naji said.

Financial difficulties

"The salaries of public sector employees in the Houthi-controlled areas were cut off when the Central Bank moved from Sanaa to Aden in September 2016," said economist Abdul Jalil Hassan.

"Those employees have slid into the ranks of the poor," he told Al-Mashareq.

"The number of strike days at universities is now higher than the number of work days," he said, pointing out that this adversely affects the future of Yemen, which is shaped by the "poor output of university education".

The Angela Development and Humanitarian Response Foundation this year distributed Ramadan food baskets to Sanaa University faculty members.

"The distribution of food baskets to academics and members of the faculty of languages at Sanaa University came as part of the charitable projects being implemented by the foundation," said foundation head Angela Abu Esbah.

Since salary payments to university professors -- previously privileged members of society -- were halted, many now face difficult financial situations, to the point that they cannot feed their children, she told Al-Mashareq.

Most Sanaa University professors have no additional source of income, she said.

"The foundation has received many requests to carry out food basket projects for university faculty members, including deans of colleges and university vice-presidents whose financial status have been negatively impacted," she said.

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