Plan for troop pullback ‘now accepted’ by rival forces around key Yemen port, but fighting intensifying elsewhere, Security Council warned

OCHA/Giles Clarke Children walk through a damaged part of downtown Craiter in Aden, Yemen. The area was badly damaged by airstrikes in 2015 as the Houthi’s were driven out of the city by coalition forces.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


A plan to withdraw forces from front lines in and around the key Yemeni port of Hudaydah has been accepted by pro-Government forces and Houthi rebels, the UN Special Envoy to the country told the Security Council on Monday, warning however that war shows “no sign of abating” elsewhere.

Martin Griffiths said that after a “long and difficult process” agreeing the details of a UN-backed plan, which the warring parties signed up to in Sweden last December to de-escalate fighting around Hudaydah, as the start of a process to hopefully end the fighting nationwide, “both parties have now accepted the detailed redeployment plan for phase one”, and the UN was now “moving with all speed towards resolving the final outstanding issues”.

He said the breakthrough would mark the “first voluntary withdrawals of forces in this long conflict”, noting that violence had “significantly reduced” around the Red Sea port city, which is the entry point for the vast majority of aid and goods for the whole country, since the fragile ceasefire began.

Mr. Griffiths told Council members he was committed to helping facilitate a political solution to end the war: “My primary responsibility in the next few weeks will be to winnow down differences between the parties so that when they meet they can, in all efficiency, be asked to answer precise questions about the nature of the arrangements to end the war”, he said.

“I seek the support of this Council for this approach. I ask you to put your faith in the desperate need for peace which is the daily prayer of the millions of Yemenis who still believe in its prospect.

Without more support ‘the end is nigh’ for Yemenis: Lowcock

UN Affairs Chief, Mark Lowcock, was next to brief the chamber, also via video-link, picking up Martin Griffith’s passionate plea for the international community to act now, to save countless Yemeni lives.

He reiterated his earlier call for a nationwide ceasefire, adding that “all the men with guns and bombs need to stop the violence. We again remind the parties that international humanitarian law binds them in all locations and at all times.”

But bullets are not the only risk to life and limb he warned, citing that so far this year, 200,000 suspected cases of deadly cholera had been reported, almost three times the same period last year.

“We see the consequences of the destruction of the health system elsewhere too. More than 3,300 cases of diphtheria have been reported since 2018 – the first outbreak in Yemen since 1982. Earlier this year, new measles cases surged to nearly twice the levels reported at the same time in 2018”.

Looming over everything, the risk of famine continues, he warned, saying that the World Food Programme (WFP) was upping the reach of support for the world’s largest aid operation, from nine million a month, to 12 million “in the coming months”.

Access to the vulnerable remains a key challenge he said, making clear that grain that could feed 3.7 million hungry Yemenis in Hudaydah’s Red Sea Mills, remained trapped due to conflict. Secondly, money was running out to save lives, he said, with only $267 million received so far, out of $2.6 billion pledged.

WHO, he said, “projects that 60 per cent of diarrhoea treatment centres could close in the coming weeks, and services at 50 per cent of secondary care facilities, could be disrupted.”

“We remain keenly aware that a sustainable peace – as Martin has said many times – would be the most effective remedy for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen”, Mr. Lowcock concluded. “Without peace, we will simply go on treating the symptoms of this crisis, instead addressing the cause.”

“Let me summarize. Violence has again increased. The relief operation is running out of money. Barring changes, the end is nigh.”

Level of violence, abuse against children ‘simply unacceptable’: Gamba

The UN’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, focussed on how Yemen’s most vulnerable had borne the brunt of war with a “staggering” figure of more than 3,000 children “verified as recruited and used”, while more than 7,500 were killed and maimed, with over 800 cases of humanitarian access denied, during nearly five years of fighting.

Almost half of those killed and maimed, she said, were victims of airstrikes, for which the Saudi-led coalition supporting the Government, “bears the main responsibility”.

On the ground however, “the Houthis were responsible for the majority” of casualties, predominantly through shelling, mortar and small arms fire.

Ms. Gamba said she had secured agreements with both warring parties during her time in office, to strengthen the protection of child lives, and to cut down on the recruitment of children as part of the war effort.

“The violence Yemeni children have been subjected to – and still are – is simply unacceptable. I urge all parties to the conflict to take immediate measures to ensure that their military operations are conducted in full compliance with international law, including through respecting the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.”

She too, called on the international community to prioritize funding for Yemen, “in order to provide children with a chance to survive, learn, and construct the Yemen of the future”.

The Stockholm Agreement had provided hope, “yet as fighting continues and intensifies in parts of the country”, said the Special Representative, “I urge the parties to swiftly implement the commitments made. The tragedy of Yemeni children and their role in the Yemen of tomorrow emphasizes the need to put them at the heart of the peace process.         

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Brexit: The Conservative Party drives the UK and Europe to a perilous road

3 ways we are making an impact on plastic pollution

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

7 innovative projects making cities more sustainable

The future of energy in Puerto Rico is renewable

Nature is our strongest ally in ensuring global water security

5 facts you should know about the world’s refugees

5 ways to net a sustainable future for aquaculture

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

Why the ECB prepares to flood the markets with more and free of charge euro; everybody needs that now

Efforts to save the planet must start with the Antarctic

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

We have the tools to beat climate change. Now we need to legislate

10 Downing street: Another desperate attempt to unite Britain on Brexit

COVID-19: MEPs debate how to best protect cross-border and seasonal workers

African economies sustain progress in domestic resource mobilisation

Cleantech innovation is being stifled. Here’s how to unlock it

The West unites against Mali desert rebels

It’s time we harnessed Big Data for good

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

Coal addiction ‘must be overcome’ to ease climate change, UN chief says in Bangkok

The migration crisis is slowly melting the entire EU edifice

Africa’s inspiring innovators show what the future could hold

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

EU on track to end use of chemicals harming the ozone layer

DiscoverEU: 20,000 more young people will explore Europe in 2020

Hunger in Yemen: WFP considers aid suspension in face of repeated interference by some Houthi leaders

4 simple ways to make your holiday season more sustainable

“One Belt One Road”: Its relevance to the European Companies

Abu Dhabi is investing $250 million in tech start-ups

Coronavirus: Commission unveils EU vaccines strategy

4 ways sporting events are becoming more sustainable

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

Statement by Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager on State aid measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19

Landmine casualties high for third consecutive year despite record funding, latest monitor reports

One in three fish caught never gets eaten

A young person’s perspective on the Paris and Beirut attacks and aftermath

Building a stronger Europe: new initiatives to further boost role of youth, education and culture policies

COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 9 April

COP24: green, gender focus, as UN’s crucial climate change conference gets underway

‘The best-selling brand today is fear’: UN chief highlights urgent need to address global ‘deficit of trust’

Historical success for the First ever European Presidential Debate

Here are 3 ways venture capital can fund a better future

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

Here’s what I learned at Davos 2020

These countries are making ‘travel bubbles’ for post-lockdown tourism

It’s not your imagination, summers are getting hotter

These countries have the most nuclear reactors

A clean energy future with hydrogen could be closer than we think

Further reforms can foster more inclusive labour markets in The Netherlands

UN rights office calls on Zimbabwe Government to end ‘crackdown’ in response to fuel protests

The ASEAN Community sees the light: the genesis of a new powerful economic and political bloc and EU’s big opportunity

Quality coffee can boost local economies and benefit farmers – here’s how

Water pollution is killing millions of Indians. Here’s how technology and reliable data can change that

Monsoon rains turn millions of children’s lives ‘upside down’ across South Asia

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK following its failure to name a candidate for EU Commissioner

MEPs agree on new rules to tax digital companies’ revenues

This is how COVID-19 is affecting informal workers

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s