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Press Release

After four years of war, the world is failing the people of Yemen

  • As Yemen conflict enters fifth year, the International Rescue Committee issues urgent call for progress in peace process
  • With 10 million on the brink of famine, a nationwide ceasefire and peace negotiations are urgently needed
  • US, UK should lead efforts to put pressure on peace process to end the suffering of the Yemeni people

The International Rescue Committee calls on world leaders to ensure the fragile peace process in Yemen does not fail. Those with influence over the warring parties, especially the US and UK, must exercise it to the fullest extent and pressure parties to immediately end the violence and move in good faith towards a negotiated political outcome. The Yemeni people have suffered enough in this war and can wait no longer.

Frank McManus, Yemen Country Director at the International Rescue Committee said,

“Yemen is a blight on the conscience of the international community. The $4 billion of aid money pledged to Yemen are vital. This money will save lives, but it cannot stop the killing nor end the humanitarian crisis.

The importance of the Stockholm deal cannot be overstated. It is unfathomable that after four years of horrific war, the suffering of the civilian population could worsen further- but this is the reality Yemenis face. The collapse of the economy leaves millions unable to afford food, with 10 million hovering on the brink of famine. Half the country’s health facilities are today out of commission, unable to treat the millions already in need. The IRC has seen a 63% increase in violence against women since the start of the war. The world can let this continue no longer.

Warring parties, with the support of their international backers, have the opportunity to change the course of this conflict, and they must take it. The recent escalation of fighting in Hajjah, northern Yemen, where just last week 22 civilians were killed and 30 injured in a single incident, illustrates the terrifying implications of failing to secure progress in peace negotiations. Each day brings more accusations of violations by all sides. These clashes risk reversing the scarce progress we have made to date; the agreements reached in Stockholm to end the violence must be implemented immediately and form the basis for a nationwide ceasefire. The international community should give its full backing to the UN Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths as he seeks to get the Stockholm deal back on track.

In the world’s largest humanitarian emergency, all sides are responsible for actions that prevent the delivery of assistance to those that need it most. They must stop playing politics with Yemeni lives and allow for unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid. The IRC is calling for the opening of all air and sea ports, salary payments to all government workers, and full access for humanitarian agencies to reach those in need.”

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 sea ports create challenges to our operations, the IRC has maintained access to affected populations and continues to provide life-saving healthcare, treatment of malnutrition, water and sanitation support, economic empowerment, women’s protection and empowerment, and education programming. But humanitarian actors like the IRC will continue to be overwhelmed by need and Yemenis will continue to suffer in the absence of a sustained, meaningful, nationwide peace process.

For more information about the IRC’s work in Yemen, click here.

About the IRC

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 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.