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Joint Open Letter to the United Nations Security Council Representatives on Yemen

Pays
Yémen
Sources
ACTED
+ 30
Date de publication

101 organisations working in and on Yemen urge immediate action

The conflict in Yemen will enter into its eighth year tomorrow, and civilians continue to bear the brunt of the fighting. Unlawful attacks are destroying lives and livelihoods, driving widespread displacement, and decimating public infrastructure and the economy, creating one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Yet, the violence, and violations, are only escalating, exacting a devastating toll on civilians. Since the United Nations Human Rights Council’s vote in October to dismantle the Group of Eminent Experts, the sole international, independent accountability mechanism working on Yemen, civilian casualties and unlawful attacks against civilian infrastructure, have almost doubled.

January saw the highest civilian casualties since our record began in 2018, with almost one civilian killed or injured every hour. Airstrikes in early January destroyed 4 schools, 5 hospitals and clinics, 21 telecommunications towers and one water reservoir that served 120,000 people.

One of the worst attacks in the history of the conflict took place on 21 January killing 93 people, injuring another 236, and destroying a telecommunications hub, plummeting the country into a nationwide internet black out, disconnecting Yemen from the rest of the world and disrupting humanitarian operational communications for four days. Likewise, 40 civilians were killed and 75 were injured in shelling incidents, which continue to threaten the lives of more than 1.5 million people in Marib.

Without a strong international, independent accountability mechanism in place, there is no incentive for warring parties to adhere to the rules of war, let alone broker peace. The dangerous legacy of unexploded ordinances and landmines not only increases the daily risk of civilians being killed or maimed, but also threatens plans for Yemen’s stabilisation and long-term recovery.

On the other hand, increasingly, the conflict is being waged through economic means, but having a direct and disproportionate impact on civilians. Restrictions on fuel entering the Hodeidah port have resulted in wide-reaching shortages and skyrocketing black market prices. Millions of families are struggling to survive; with the economy collapsed and inflation putting basic goods further out of reach of ordinary people.

Humanitarian access is being used as a bargaining chip. Permission for lifesaving programming continues to be denied or delayed for months. The obstruction of aid by parties to the conflict is exacerbating the country’s dire humanitarian situation. In September, the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana and Global Rights Compliance found that conduct by the Saudi Led Coalition and Ansar Allah severely impeded civilians’ access to food and water, effectively using starvation as a weapon of war, in violation of international humanitarian law.

Interference by authorities also risks compromising humanitarian principles, including independence, setting a dangerous international precedent, and makes reaching and understanding the needs of marginalised communities even harder. Persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, migrants, displaced populations, women, children and the elderly are often cut off from relief despite being disproportionately impacted by the insecurity. Mitigating against that risk, takes time and energy from aid actors that should go towards the affected population. The year 2022 is the time for global leaders to action their commitments and responsibilities on Yemen. The international community’s empathy should be translated into concrete actions. Millions of innocent children and their families can no longer be a pawn in a politicised conflict.

• We call on UNSC members to directly engage with all parties to the conflict and urge them to abide by international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the mine ban treaty as well as to ensure immediate and unhindered access for humanitarian organisations and agencies to ensure delivery of life-saving services to the millions of people who most need it. This includes championing the need for resolution of bureaucratic impediments, including delayed and denied project approvals. We remind Member States that measures taken to counterterrorism must comply with their obligations under IHL (UNSC Resolution 2482), and that counterterrorism measures and sanctions should not have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population.

• We further call for protection of civilians to be prioritised within the escalating hostilities. States, that have direct influence over parties to the conflict, should champion adherence to fundamental obligations under international law, including reminding them that civilian infrastructure is not a military objective, nor should be used for military purposes, and that non-target lists must be updated. Moreover, we appeal to all states to immediately halt arms transfers and military support to all parties of the conflict.

• We demand an end to impunity and call for Members States not to block reinstatement of an international, independent accountability mechanism to monitor ongoing violations and abuses and hold those involved to account. This includes state leaders stepping up to champion such a cause, and states from all regions taking a principled stance to end impunity for international crimes [including those aiding and assisting such crimes], and in the interim, increasing funding to support the UN’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on Children and Armed Conflict and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

• To be able to continue providing lifesaving services, we call for increased financial support to the most underfunded parts of the response, particularly education and protection, and for you to work with us all to hold the international response architecture, including the Humanitarian Coordinator, UN Special Envoy and others to account for their performance, delivery of strategy and feedback to civil society.

• Last but not least, we urge the UNSC to do everything in its power to ensure the protection of humanitarian workers and local organisations. Kidnappings, hijacking of cars, and attacks on humanitarian sites continue, and local civil society organisations are particularly vulnerable to threats of incarceration and coercion. Although this crisis may not be dominating news headlines, the people of Yemen deserve better. There is not a moment to lose. The world cannot continue to look on shamelessly while millions of civilians in Yemen continue to suffer on a daily basis.

— ENDS —

SIGNATORIES

  1. ACTED
  2. Abs Development Organization for Woman and Child
  3. Action Against Hunger
  4. ADRA
  5. Advance Foundation for Development
  6. Airwars
  7. Aspiring Communities Together (ACT Sheffield)
  8. Balkees Granddaughter Organization
  9. Bassma Foundation for Development and Rights
  10. Bidaya Youth Foundation
  11. Build it Up Incubator for Social Enterprise
  12. Building Foundation for Development
  13. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  14. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
  15. CARE International
  16. Children’s Parliament
  17. Civil Society Coalition for Peace
  18. Civilians in Conflict
  19. Dameer for Rights and Liberties
  20. Danish Refugee Council
  21. Defense for Children International — Yemen
  22. Democracy School
  23. Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
  24. Direct Aid
  25. Emergency
  26. Equality Foundation for Rights and Freedoms
  27. Esnad Foundation for Development
  28. Ethra Development Organization
  29. Fida International
  30. Future Feminist Foundation for Development
  31. Geneva Call
  32. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  33. Global Communities
  34. Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion
  35. Harmony Foundation for Development
  36. Himaya Foundation for Social Cohesion
  37. Hodaida Girls Foundation for Development
  38. Human Appeal
  39. Human Life Foundation
  40. I Am for My Country Foundation
  41. Improve Your Society Organization
  42. Injaz for Development
  43. International Rescue Committee
  44. INTERSOS
  45. Itisal for Development
  46. Jude Foundation for Sustainable Development
  47. Jusoor Foundation for Coexistence
  48. Kayan Foundation for Peace and Development
  49. Masaq Organization for Development
  50. Mawred for Development and Human Rights
  51. Medair
  52. Medecins du Monde
  53. Mercy Corps
  54. Musaala Organization for Human Rights
  55. Mwatana for Human Rights
  56. National Prisoners Foundation
  57. Norwegian People’s Aid
  58. Norwegian Refugee Council
  59. NYCMedics
  60. Oxfam
  61. Partners Yemen
  62. Peace and Building Foundation
  63. Peace School
  64. Polish Humanitarian Action
  65. Première Urgence Internationale
  66. Pure Hands
  67. Qatar Charity
  68. Qudrah Organization for Sustainable Development
  69. Rafed Foundation for Rights, Liberties and Protection
  70. Relief & Development Peer Foundation (RDP)
  71. Relief International
  72. Right Foundation for Human Rights
  73. Saba Kingdom for Development
  74. Sada Foundation for Building and Development
  75. SAM for Rights and Liberties
  76. Saferworld
  77. Samaritan’s Purse
  78. Save the Children
  79. Search for Common Ground
  80. Secours Islamique France
  81. Shadow World Investigations
  82. Sheba Youth Foundation for Development
  83. Solidarites International
  84. Take my Hand Charitable Foundation
  85. Tamdeen Youth Foundation
  86. Tearfund
  87. The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society
  88. Together We Rise Foundation for Women and Child Care
  89. Vision Hope International
  90. Wama Organization for Development and Human Rights
  91. War Child UK
  92. Watch for Human Rights
  93. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Sweden
  94. Yemeni Community Association in Sandwell
  95. Yemeni Community Association of Greater Manchester
  96. Yemeni Development Network for NGOs
  97. Youth Beginning for Sustainable Development
  98. Youth Empowerment Foundation for Development
  99. Youth Forum for Peacebuilding
  100. Youth Unity Association
  101. ZOA
  • All data, unless otherwise referenced, is from the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, a service of the Protection Cluster Yemen. Civilian Impact Monitoring Project, Protection Cluster Yemen, accessed 2 March 2022 https://civilianimpactmonitoring.org