Geneva – In a joint oral statement before the 45th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor stated that Yemenis are going through critical times due to the significant decline of relief efforts and the continuing blockade imposed on their cities as a result of the ongoing military operations, indicating that the ghost of starvation is closer than ever to devastate the population.
In a joint statement with the Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (GIWEH) during the general debate of Item 10 of the Council’s agenda on enhancing technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights, Euro-Med Monitor stated that since 2015, the conflict in Yemen has led to the death of thousands, the displacement of millions, and the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, as ongoing hostilities have isolated and besieged the civilian population. Further, the ongoing hostilities resulted in vital supplies, including food and water, to decrease in most areas, leaving 7 out of 10 Yemenis without food security and rendering the vulnerable population increasingly prone to famine.
Rawane Matene, a researcher at Euro-Med Monitor, noted in the statement that last month, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen announced shutting down 15 out of 41 major UN humanitarian programs due to lack of funding. Thirty other humanitarian programs will be vulnerable to the same fate if the necessary funds are not provided. This means Yemenis might face starvation and death.
The statement added that it is the responsibility of the parties concerned, including the United Nations, to find a political solution to the Yemeni crisis through exerting pressure on the Arab Coalition and the Houthi group to stop fighting. The concerned parties should launch a political process that paves the way for a transitional phase, where Yemenis determine their own destiny and secure a decent life away from war and starvation.
In their statement, Euro-Med Monitor and GIWEH welcomed the UN’s announcement of a a prisoner exchange between the Yemeni government and the Houthi group and expressed hope that this step would represent the start of a political process that ends the conflict.
The statement drew attention that humanitarian assistance is vital to the population’s survival, but it remains finite, and it cannot remedy a political problem. Whereas a political solution to the conflict would decrease the need for humanitarian interventions. A state of stability is crucial to enable sustainable progress on the ground and empower the population to stand on their own feet again rather than remaining perpetual recipients of dramatically decreasing aid.