Two years and more than 13,000 civilian casualties later, the conflict in Yemen continues to rage, with an intensification in hostilities over the past three months that has exacerbated the entirely man-made catastrophe, with children starving and refugees and fishermen bombed, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said.
Just back from Kenya, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia – countries that are facing or are at risk of famine – the top United Nations humanitarian official today urged the international community for comprehensive action to save people from simply “starving to death.”
“We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council today.
The announcement by Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress on the formation of a new government in Sana’a represents a new and concerning obstacle to the peace process and does not serve the interests of the people of Yemen in these difficult times. Such unilateral actions contradict the recent commitments provided by Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress to the United Nations and to United States Secretary of State John Kerry in Muscat.
The Secretary-General condemns the attack on an event hall in Sana’a where hundreds of people were gathered for a funeral ceremony. Initial reports indicate that the attack, said to have been airstrikes by the Coalition, killed over 140 people and injured hundreds of others. The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
9 June 2016 – Standing by his decision to remove the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen from his latest report on conflict-affected children, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said it was one of the most ‘painful and difficult decisions’ he has ever had to make, and that it is ‘unacceptable’ for Member States to exert undue pressure as scrutiny is necessary part of the work of the UN.
“The report describes horrors no child should have to face,” said Mr. Ban speaking to the press outside of the UN Security Council chamber, where he acknowledged that the “fierce reaction to my decision to temporarily remove the Saudi-led Coalition countries from the report’s annex.”
“At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would de-fund many UN programmes. Children already at risk in Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and so many other places would fall further into despair,” he stressed.
Insisting that he stands by the report, the UN chief added that the Organization “will assess the complaints that have been made, but the content will not change.”
“I fully understand the criticism, but I would also like to make a larger point that speaks to many political challenges we face. When UN peacekeepers come under physical attack, they deserve strong backing by the Security Council,” he stated. “When UN personnel are declared persona non grata simply for carrying out their jobs, they should be able to count on firm support from the Member States,” he said.
Mr. Ban also underlined that when a UN report comes “under fire” for raising difficult issues or documenting violations of law or human rights, Member States should defend the mechanisms and mandates that they themselves have established.
“As the Secretariat carries forward the work that is entrusted to us, I count on Member States to work constructively and maintain their commitment to the cause of this Organization,” he told reporters.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, expressed his warmest wishes to all observing the holy month of Ramadan, which starts today, noting it is a moment to “reflect on the difficult experiences faced by millions of people uprooted from their homes by conflict.”
The holy month is being observed this year at a time when “acute and protracted crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Libya and other locations have created levels of human suffering not witnessed in decades,” Grandi said.
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I am trying to remain in regular contact with you in order to update you about the latest developments of the peace talks.
The peace talks are continuing, we are determined to reach an agreement and this commitment will not wane over time. Continue reading
Worldwide close to 80 million people are currently impacted by humanitarian emergencies arising from natural disasters and armed conflicts, such as those in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen, and more recently, Nepal. WHO estimates 5% to 10% of these people suffer from a mental health condition such as depression as a result of the emergency. Continue reading
The Secretary-General is gravely concerned about the continued ground fighting and aerial bombardment in Yemen and its impact on innocent civilians. More than 1,200 people have been killed and 300,000 have fled their homes in the past six weeks. There are credible reports of families in Aden trapped by the bombardment and snipers targeting civilians in the street. Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, humanitarian warehouses and UN compounds, are unacceptable and in violation of international humanitarian law. Continue reading
One of the poorest countries in the Middle East, Yemen has been experiencing a humanitarian crisis fuelled by conflict and widespread insecurity, large-scale displacement, civil strife, political instability, chronic food shortages, a breakdown of social services, endemic poverty and refugee influxes. The situation has been rapidly deteriorating since Continue reading