World Incidents

Three people dying in Yemen every day despite ceasefire agreement

Yemen is continuing to experience a steady stream of violence, claiming at least one life every eight hours – despite the agreements reached between the internationally recognised government and the Houthis at talks in Sweden just over three months ago.

According to figures compiled by two international aid agencies, in some areas of the country the number of casualties, far from falling, had doubled where the conflict was flaring up.

Figures show three people have died in Yemen every day since the agreements were signed in mid-December. More than 231 civilians have been killed across the country, by airstrikes, shelling, snipers or landmines. A third of those fatalities were in Hodeidah governorate, despite the ceasefire there – 56 of those were children.

According to figures collected by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), civilian casualties in Hajjah and Taiz alone have more than doubled since the Hodeidah ceasefire and Stockholm agreement came into effect, with 164 and 184 people killed in each city respectively.

“The reduction in violence seen in Hodeidah through recent months has been counteracted by escalations in other parts of the country,” said Mohamed Abdi, country director for NRC in Yemen.

“While airstrikes on Hodeidah city have reduced significantly and a semblance of life has resumed, the fighting is intensifying in other parts of the country, with a devastating impact on civilians.”

According to the NRC, significant clashes have resumed in parts of Hodeidah city, threatening to reverse any fragile gains.

Commenting on its own figures on the death toll, Muhsin Siddiquey, Yemen country director for Oxfam, said: “Every day that passes without concrete progress towards peace, more Yemenis lose their lives and the suffering deepens for those struggling to find food and shelter amid the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

“The backers of the warring parties are complicit in this manmade crisis,” he said. “We call on them to stop arming the belligerents. They and the rest of the international community need to do all they can to help bring about a lasting peace in Yemen.”

The conflict has left millions of Yemenis on the brink of famine.

Siddiquey also criticised the UK government for its decision to continue to license the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, part of a coalition giving military support to the internationally recognised government. The policy will be challenged in the Court of Appeal in April, after the High Court ruled the arms exports could continue.

Siddiquey said: “The international leadership [that] UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has shown both by visiting Yemen recently to witness the disaster for himself, and by holding talks with the warring parties to urge compromise on all sides, is commendable. But this willingness to broker peace is being fatally undermined by the UK government’s insistence on continued arms sales to some of the warring parties.

“UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other coalition members are prolonging and deepening a conflict that is causing immense human suffering, and they need to stop.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.