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NGOs Call on UN Security Council for Yemen Ceasefire
In an open letter sent today, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Save the Children, and seven other NGOs urged the UN Security Council to push the parties involved in the conflict in Yemen to implement an immediate ceasefire and to implement the peace process. The NGOs also called for developing a new monitoring mechanism to investigate the growing evidence of potential war crimes and an extension of the arms embargo on all parties violating the laws of war in Yemen. The letter comes after Ansar Allah and the General People's Congress agreed in a letter last week to implement Resolution 2216 of the Security Council and the Arabian peace plan negotiated by the Special Envoy of the United Nations for Yemen.
Given the rapid deterioration of the humanitarian situation, the ongoing restrictions on imports and the collapse of basic services throughout the country, the letter calls on members of the UN Security Council to push the warring parties to provide immediate and safe passage and unhindered humanitarian aid to the affected populations. The letter also calls for the lifting of the blockade for basic necessities such as fuel, food, and medicines, so they can finally enter the country.
Since March, fighting has killed at least 2,500 civilians, including over 500 children, and led to the displacement of 2.3 million people across the country.
"Six months after the adoption of Resolution 2216 of the UN Security Council, the peace efforts in Yemen have stalled, while 21 million Yemenis bear the brunt of this brutal conflict," said Sajid Mohammad Sajjad, Oxfam Country Director in Yemen. "The United Nations must take advantage of recent political developments to negotiate a cease-fire, restart peace talks, and implement an international body responsible for monitoring and assessing potential violations by all parties," he concluded.
The letter calls to end the blockade and barriers to access to vital humanitarian goods in conflict zones. Only one percent of needed fuel for Yemen entered the country in September, the lowest level since April.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians in Taiz, the third largest city in Yemen, are desperately short of water, food, and medicines, while armed groups strengthen their control over the city and prevent humanitarian aid from entering.
For Gabriella Waaijman, Regional Director in charge of the Horn of Africa and Yemen for the Norwegian Refugee Council, "the humanitarian crisis in Yemen has reached an extreme level and it is civilians who continue to pay the price. It is urgent that all parties to the conflict allow humanitarian access to populations in need, and that the Security Council obliges warring parties to respect international law."
Edward Santiago, Save the Children Country Director in Yemen, states that "children suffer the weight of the crisis. These are the victims of air strikes and fighting, and the houses, schools, and hospitals which they depend on are now damaged or destroyed. Many families do not have the food, fuel, and medicines they desperately need to survive, given that humanitarian assistance is simply not able to get in the country due to the blockade. We have already seen an increase of 150% of cases of severe acute malnutrition between March and August. Without immediate humanitarian assistance, thousands more children could die."
According to the UN, over the past six months the number of children who left school more than doubled, and four schools closed. Most others are damaged or hosting people displaced by the fighting.
Read the letter to the UN Security Council (note: letter is in French)
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