Sana'a, Yemen, July 25, 2019 — As the Yemen peace process continues, efforts to date have failed to translate into real improvements for the people of Yemen. The Stockholm peace agreement is threatened as fighting around Hodeidah City intensifies, and conflict continues on numerous fronts across the country. A frontline of the war in Al Dhale’e is for the third time this year impacting the IRC’s ability to reach those in need, killing and injuring civilians and threatening IRC staff. An IRC volunteer was hit in the leg by a stray bullet while in front of her home this week, just a few kilometres down the road from an IRC-run diarrhoea treatment centre. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) calls for a nationwide ceasefire effective immediately as a first step towards a political resolution to the war.
Frank Mc Manus, IRC’s Yemen Country Director, said,
“Words without actions are useless. With 24 million people in need of assistance and 10 million on the brink of famine, Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, yet, the warring parties and the international community appear to lack the sense of urgency needed to end this war. While there has been reports of progress from talks focused on the redeployment of forces from in and around Hodeidah over the past two weeks, these have yet to be clearly defined, let alone implemented. Increasingly we're seeing a situation in which meetings and discussions are being presented as progress and outcomes without improvements on the ground.
Thus, the suffering of the Yemeni people continues unabated. Immediate progress on redeployment of forces from in and around Hodeidah is needed to form the basis of a further round of negotiations. Negotiations must deliver a nationwide ceasefire and serve as a first step towards an inclusive political settlement with representatives from all factions of Yemeni society, especially women.”
IRC programs, including health, nutrition, and education activities, continue to be hindered by the frontline of the war in Al Dhale’e and by access constraints in Hodeidah. Despite these impacts on programming, IRC and humanitarian actors continue to deliver life saving assistance across Yemen. However, these efforts are increasingly at risk due to the failure of major donors to commit funding pledged at the Geneva conference in February this year. With 24 million in need of assistance it is imperative that all donors make good on commitments made.
Finally, the international community, especially the US and the UK, must exert all their influence to put an end to this horrific war. This especially includes ending all military support for the war, including the sale of weapons, to the Saudi-led coalition. US and UK arms supplies have been central to the tens of thousands of airstrikes since this brutal conflict began. Last year, one third of these strikes hit non-military targets — killing civilians and damaging and destroying critical infrastructure that Yemenis rely on to survive. There is no military solution to this war, and the US and the UK must use all their energy to encourage the warring parties to come to a political solution. Only this will put an end to the undue suffering of the Yemeni people.
The IRC has been working in Yemen since 2012 and rapidly scaled our programming in 2015 to address greater humanitarian need caused by the conflict. While the ongoing conflict and restrictions of air and seaports create challenges to our operations, the IRC has maintained access to affected populations in and continues to provide life-saving healthcare, economic empowerment, women’s protection and empowerment, and education programming.
To learn more about the IRC’s work in Yemen, click here.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue-uk.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.