Author Archives: Mohammed Al-Zuhairi

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Yemen

New York, 9 August 2018

The Secretary-General condemns the air strike today by the Coalition forces in Sa’ada, which hit a busy market area in Majz District and impacted a bus carrying children from a summer camp. Local health authorities have confirmed that scores of people were killed and injured, the majority of them children between 10 and 13 years old. He expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

 

The Secretary-General calls on all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. The Secretary-General emphasizes that all parties must take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations. He calls for an independent and prompt investigation into this incident.

 

The Secretary-General urgently renews his call for a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue as the only way to end the conflict. He urges all parties to de-escalate and to engage constructively in the political process, including consultations scheduled in Geneva in September.

Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General

 

Press briefing notes on Yemen civilian casualties

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Liz Throssell 

Location: Geneva
Date: 10 August 2018   

We deplore Thursday’s attack in Yemen, when a coalition air strike hit Dahyan market in Saada, reportedly killing 40 people and injuring another 60, with children on a bus among the casualties.

According to initial information our Office has gathered, at least 21 boys, most of them aged under 15, were among those killed and 35 other boys were injured.

These latest deaths come amid a recent spike in civilian casualties over the last week that tragically demonstrates how the conflict continues to blight the lives of Yemenis.

Concerning last week’s attacks in the port city of Hudaydah, our Office in Yemen has documented that at least 41 civilians, including six children and four women, were killed and 111 others injured, among them 19 children and three women.

At least three attacks hit the city on 2 August, which is controlled by the Houthis, with mortars landing in different locations in Al Hawak district. These include Hudaydah fishing port where mortars stuck the dock and hangar, at the time full of fishermen and street vendors.

Shortly afterwards, three mortars fired in quick succession hit Al-Thawra Hospital and its surroundings, also causing many civilian casualties. The first landed in the street in front of the hospital, which was full of traffic, street vendors and pedestrians. The second landed on a nearby road and the third hit and destroyed the hospital archive.

We once again call on all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. They should take all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimise, the impact of violence on civilians. We would also recall that any attack which directly targets civilians not directly taking part in hostilities or civilian objects amounts to a war crime.

We also remind the parties to the conflict that hospitals must be respected and protected in all circumstances. In addition to their immediate impact, attacks affecting hospitals and other medical facilities have a long-term impact on availability and accessibility of health services.

The ongoing conflict and loss of life in Yemen underscores the importance of the work of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen and the need for a continued international investigation into all allegations of violations of international humanitarian law. We urge the parties to the conflict to provide full cooperation with any such investigation to ensure perpetrators are identified, brought to justice and held accountable no matter where, when, or by whom such violations or abuses were committed. Those found to be responsible must also uphold the right of victims to remedy and reparations.

Between 26 March 2015 and 9 August 2018, our office has documented a total of 17,062 civilian casualties – 6,592 dead and 10,470 injured. The majority of these casualties – 10,471 – were as a result of airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led Coalition.

In another development, the de-facto authorities in Sana’a in June refused to renew the visa of the head of the UN Human Rights Office, and since then he has been unable to re-enter the country. They provided no reason for their decision and our requests for them to reconsider have, to date, gone unanswered. This has heightened our concerns for the safety of our staff and field monitors in Sana’a and other governorates across Yemen, and we urge the Houthis to reverse their decision.

ENDS

 

STATEMENT BY THE SPECIAL ENVOY ON THE TRAGEDY IN SAADA

Amman 09 August 2018

I am deeply shocked by the appalling tragedy that claimed so many innocent lives today in Saada including children under the age of 15.

My heart goes out to the parents of those who were killed.

This should urge us all to exert more efforts to end the conflict through an inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue.

I so hope that all parties will engage constructively in the political process, including consultations scheduled in Geneva in September.

UNHCR aids return of over 2,000 Somali refugees from Yemen

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler  to whom quoted text may be attributed  at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

SPECIAL ENVOY BRIEFS THE SECURITY COUNCIL AND ANNOUNCES CONSULTATIONS IN SEPTEMBER IN GENEVA

02 August 2018

Madam President, Members of this Council,

We meet at an important time. It has been two years – two years – too long since the Yemeni people had the chance for a negotiated end to this war.

Today, therefore, as we meet we have the chance to weigh the opportunities for peace. And I hope to begin the difficult and uncertain journey away from war.

Earlier this week, Madam President, I had the privilege to meet with a man who has lived the mission of peace and of reconciliation. I am referring to His Highness the Emir of Kuwait. I cannot easily remember someone who has so successfully confronted the challenge of war and then of peace, which succeeded, and he has so clearly shown us how to move from one to the other and he speaks so movingly of the process in which his country was rescued including by coalition and then formed a constructive relationship with Iraq

Madam President,

Recently and despite all our efforts the pace of war has increased. We meet at a time when the focus of the war is the battle for Hodeida. And what military people tell me about Hodeida is that it has become the centre of gravity of the war. The Red Sea now is also a theater of war.

We have tried to find a way to avoid a battle for the city and the port of Hodeida. We are still trying. But even though the requirements for such a deal, for such arrangement are not yet met it is to be noted that our efforts with your unified support have managed to narrow the gap between the two sides in a way that nobody expected.

What is clear to me now, Madam President, is that this issue – the resolution of the specific crisis in Hodeidah – has a better chance of being resolved within the context of a comprehensive political settlement.

What does this mean for us today?

It means that it is time long past for us, together, to call for an early resumption of the political process, two years since the last round in Kuwait. My principal message and request to this Council today is that we urge the parties to resolve this conflict through negotiation rather than through military means. A sentiment that members of this Council have consistently expressed.

After having consulted with the parties, I plan therefore to invite them to Geneva on September 6th for a first round of consultations. These consultations will provide the opportunity for the parties, among other things, to discuss the framework for negotiations, to agree on relevant confidence-building measures and specific plans for moving the process forward. I ask for the Council’s support in this.

In this connection, our engagements with women’s group as well as the southern stakeholders are crucial for the success of future consultations. and as it is set out in Security Council Resolution 2216, I would aim for an as inclusive process as possible.

I did not come lightly to this decision. I have based this on the advice given to me in the months since assuming my responsibilities by Yemenis from all quarters. I have engaged with the parties of course primarily but also with civil society. I am especially grateful for my meetings with Yemeni women as I continue to consult with them on elements of the peace process. Their voices unsurprisingly and consistently remind us that Yemeni families bear the brunt of this conflict, and want it done with.

I know, from this engagement, that a political solution to this war, in line with the relevant resolutions of this Council, the GCC initiative and the National Dialogue Outcome, is available, as I have said before to this council. Believe me, Madam President, we know what can work. We have heard it from all sides, we have talked to all of them. We have studied the experience of past efforts to resolve this conflict, and one hundred days in Kuwait as the Emir was reminding me the other day is an enormously valuable guide for us.

Madam President,

An end to this war cannot come too soon for the people of Yemen. As our humanitarian colleagues are quick to remind us, and am sure John will do so, if we don’t succeed together to put an end to it, there will be millions more Yemenis depending on the assistance of our humanitarian agencies. I am very conscious as we all are that each day costs lives which we might have saved, that people could have been alive, who are not today, had we acted earlier.

Let me speak for a moment about what is happening in Yemen.

On Hodeidah, as already mentioned, we have made progress particularly as regards to a United Nations role in the port, which was agreed with me by the leadership of Ansar Allah some weeks ago. But it does not mean that the gap is closed, the gap is not closed. We will continue our efforts to find a peaceful solution there. This progress is due to the serious cooperation I have received from all sides and this Council’s active support. I continue to enjoy close cooperation and support from the Government of Yemen and their leadership, always an important engaging primary partner as well as the Coalition leadership. I also had a series of constructive and positive meetings with the senior leadership of Ansar Allah. These relationships are absolutely key to any potential success we may expect in this endeavor of a political settlement. The nurturing of relationships is a primary task for somebody in my position

Let us not throw away what we have achieved on Hodeida therefore. I am determined to build on it in our consultations. But let us not allow, – as I have been reminded today- let us not allow progress or the absence of it on Hodeida deter us from our primary focus, which is on the search for a political solution to this conflict.

I am concerned that Hodeidah could be a flashpoint. I take seriously any offer of de-escalation, regardless of its magnitude, including the unilateral offer from Ansar Allah to stop all attacks on shipping. Many of us would not have wanted these attacks to have happened at all. My concern is to avoid any action with dire humanitarian consequences and nor those, which may undermine the resumption of the political process in September. I call on the parties, with the support of this Council, to create a conducive environment, and I use these words carefully, conducive environment to allow for this to happen.

On other matters, I am greatly encouraged by the common desire of the parties to have the many many thousands of prisoners of war released. My office has been hard at work on this. And this was an issue that President Hadi, on each occasion I had met him has particularly urged us to take the lead on and I think this is a tribute to his humanity. And I know we all want to see this moving forward as fast as we can.

Madam President,

Let me conclude by summing up my requests to you and your members.

Firstly, support for my effort to begin consultations in September in Geneva.

Secondly, support for de-escalation in Hodeida.  And to keep the Red Sea out of the conflict.

Thirdly, support for those measures I mentioned one, release of prisoners, there are many others, that bring hope back to the people of Yemen. It is the people of Yemen who will ensure that we have a good chance to make those political negotiations work. Without their involvement, interest, advocacy and support we will not make it. They need encouragement to believe that this can happen

Fourthly, please join me as I know you will, in recognizing the extraordinary courage of international humanitarian organisations which I have had the privilege in my frequent visits to Yemen of witnessing first hand their courage, their diligence, their reliability, their independence and impartiality. It is an exceptional privilege to all of us to be colleagues.

Finally, through you Madame I would like to thank this Council for the extraordinary level of support that you have provided to my efforts. It makes an enormous difference to have a united and eloquent Council asserting the principles of the United Nations.  Your continued unity is by any standards the key to the resolution of this conflict.

Thank you, Madam President.

 

Drinking water systems under repeated continuous attack in Yemen

1 August 2018

UNICEF calls for immediate halt to attacks on water facilities and civilian infrastructure in Yemen

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore

SANA’A/NEW YORK, 1 August 2018 – “Attacks against civilian facilities and services are unacceptable, inhumane and in breach of the basic laws of war.

“Ongoing violence and repeated attacks on lifesaving civilian infrastructure in Hodeida are a direct threat to the survival of hundreds of thousands of children and their families.

“Yet the past few days have seen an escalation in the targeting of systems and facilities that are essential to sustaining the lives of children and families.

“Two days ago, we received reports that a UNICEF-supported warehouse containing humanitarian provisions, including hygiene and water-related supplies, was hit by two airstrikes. On 28 July, a UNICEF-supported sanitation centre in the Zabid District came under attack, damaging the facility’s fuel tank. On 27 July, the water station in al-Mina District, which provides Hodeida with most of its water, was hit.

“Yemen is already facing a severe shortage of drinking water, which is directly linked to outbreaks of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea. Attacks on water infrastructure jeopardize efforts to prevent another outbreak of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea in Yemen.

“We continue to call on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

“The war in Yemen has no winners. It is robbing Yemeni children of their futures.”

For more information

Juliette Touma, UNICEF Regional Office, +962-79-86-74628, jtouma@unicef.org Bismarck Swangin, UNICEF Yemen, +967-71-222-3161, bswangin@unicef.org Christopher Tidey, UNICEF New York, Tel: +1 917 340 3017, ctidey@unicef.org

Notes to Editors

Since the escalation of the conflict in Hodeida in late May, humanitarian agencies have been on the ground to deliver much needed humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF and partners were able to collectively deliver, clean water, health and nutrition supplies to hundreds of thousands of children impacted by the conflict in Yemen including in Hodeida.
Yemen is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Eleven million children, are in need of protection and humanitarian assistance.

Solar Power Delivers Water to Tens of Thousands of Yemenis

07/11/18 – Sana’a
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, yesterday (10/07) handed over a large-scale solar power water project to the Government of Yemen that is helping to deliver approximately one million litres of water daily to 55,000 people in a country facing chronic water shortages.

Power generated by the 940 solar panels installed on three schools in Amanat Al Asimah and Sana’a Governorates began pumping water to residents of the neighbourhoods of Shu’aub, Al Madinah Al Syahya, and Sho’ob two weeks ago.

IOM’s solar power water project in Yemen, where 90 per cent of the population lacks access to sufficient water, aims to provide conflict-affected communities with alternative methods of accessing clean water. Many people are forced to use unsafe sources of water, which is a clear contributor to the recent cholera outbreak.

Solar energy, collected through photovoltaic (solar) panels, powers deep water pumps and water supply systems. This method cuts dependency and the high recurrent costs of fuel-based technology. An estimated 150,000 litres of diesel and 500 tonnes of carbon emissions will be saved annually due to the environmentally friendly water system in Sana’a.

The project provides essential water supply in places where supply and prices of fuel and other basic commodities are greatly affected by the ongoing conflict and are erratic at best.

Hamoud Obad, Governor of Sana’a, and Abdalah Al Hadi, the Deputy Minister of the Water and Sanitation Authority joined Stefano Pes, IOM Yemen’s Head of Emergency, Transition and Recovery at the official ceremony Tuesday in Sana’a.

This initiative is supported by the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Government of Germany. IOM plans to expand this project throughout Yemen to contribute to the sustainable solarization in the country.

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel:+ 967 736 800 329; Email:smalme@iom.int

Kuwait Provides USD 10 Million to UN Migration Agency for Operations in Yemen 

Geneva – Monday, 9 July

The State of Kuwait donated USD 10 million in support of the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s humanitarian work in Yemen.

“Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, the State of Kuwait is determined to support the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people through its collaboration with the international humanitarian organizations,” Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, told IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing, during their meeting.

“The State of Kuwait would like to reiterate its firm intention of further strengthening the longstanding and fruitful relations with the International Organization for Migration, in the ultimate service of international humanitarian work,” the ambassador added.

Director General Swing called Kuwait “a reliable source of support” for many years and observed that the emirate is IOM’s oldest collaborator among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

In February this year, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, launched a USD 96.2 million appeal to support Yemenis and migrants impacted by the three-year old conflict.

The appeal comes under the USD 2.96 billion Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) which covers the entire humanitarian community.

Due to a protracted economic crisis, intermittent conflict, and weak rule of law, Yemen was already facing chronic vulnerabilities even prior to the escalation of conflict on 25 March 2015. This has led to a system-wide failure in the health and education sector, as well as a shutdown of governmental services and mass unemployment. Some 22.2 million Yemenis – more than 2 out of 3 people – will need humanitarian aid in 2018, with half of the population living in areas directly affected by conflict.

“Three years of conflict have inflicted suffering on millions, affecting every Yemeni – man, woman or child,” said DG Swing.  “With armed conflict ongoing, a stalled peace process and an economic blockade, Yemen is in the grips of a devastating protracted humanitarian and developmental crisis,” he added.

The conflict has also displaced some two million Yemenis within their own country, according to the Task Force on Population Movement. Nearly 90 per cent of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been displaced for one year or more, including 69 per cent who have been displaced for over two years. The protracted nature of the displacement is straining IDPs’ and host communities’ ability to cope.

A further one million IDPs have returned to their area of origin but are in dire need of aid. Their homes have been severely damaged by the fighting and urgently require rehabilitation assistance.

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329; Email: smalme@iom.int, or Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int

Note to Correspondents – Remarks to the press by Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy of the Secretary- General for Yemen, at the end of his 3-day visit to Sana’a

Sana’a International Airport, 4 July 2018

I would like to thank my hosts in Sana’a for their warm reception over the last two days and during this critical time for Yemen. During this visit, I have held meetings with the leaders and representatives of Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress. 

I am reassured by the messages I have received, which have been positive and constructive. All parties have not only underscored their strong desire for peace, but have also engaged with me on concrete ideas for achieving peace. In this regard, I am especially thankful to Abdel Malek al-Houthi whom I met yesterday for his support and the fruitful discussion we held. 

On Thursday 5th of July, I will brief the Security Council on the outcomes of my discussions in Sana’a and Aden. My talks with the parties will continue in the coming days. I hope to see very soon President Abed Rabboh Mansour Hadi. As you know, I had a meeting with him last week, a very positive meeting as usual, We’re glad that he has also underscored his desire for rapid progress towards a peaceful settlement 

Finally I look forward to work with all the parties urgently to find a solution first that will restore security and stability in Hudayda but also create positive conditions for a rapidand urgent restart of political negotiations in the coming days. 

Thank you very much.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — OPENING REMARKS AT UNITED NATIONS HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ON COUNTER-TERRORISM

New York, 28 June 2018

I am pleased to welcome you all to the first ever global High-level Conference of heads of counter-terrorism agencies of the Member States of the United Nations.

Terrorism and violent extremism undermine international peace and security.

They divide communities, exacerbate conflicts, and destabilize entire regions.

They hamper our efforts to promote and protect human rights and are an obstacle to sustainable development.

This complex global challenge has reached unprecedented levels.

It affects every country here today.

When I conceived this conference, my goal was clear – to improve international cooperation and information sharing, and to build new partnerships that can find practical solutions.

Today, the frontline against terrorism is increasingly in cyberspace.

Terrorists are exploiting social media, encrypted communications and the dark web to spread propaganda, recruit new followers and coordinate attacks.

The military defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria last year means foreign terrorist fighters are on the move, returning home or relocating to other theatres of conflict.

While some may be disenchanted and ready to renounce violence, others remain determined, passing on expertise from the battlefield, recruiting new followers and carrying out attacks.

Homegrown terrorists are also testing the capacities of domestic security and intelligence agencies.

There has been a shift towards less sophisticated attacks against softer targets that are more difficult to detect and prevent.

So, as the threat from terrorism continues to evolve, we must adapt and learn lessons from what works and what does not.

Our response needs to be as agile and multifaceted as the threat.

The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and related resolutions provide a comprehensive framework.

The review of the Strategy this month, under the auspices of the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Representatives of Finland and Jordan, has given us an opportunity to consider where we need to refocus our efforts.

The top priority is that we must work together.

The transnational nature of terrorism means we need multilateral cooperation.

We must strengthen the capacities of our counter-terrorism structures and institutions.

And we must complement our counter-terrorism efforts in the security realm with concerted efforts to identify and address the root causes.

We must build the resilience and cohesion of our societies.

Communities and the State need to be joined with the common purpose of rejecting terrorist ideologies and challenging those who espouse them.

This means governments adopting a comprehensive and inclusive approach, involving all parts of society.

It means starting at the grassroots, where families and local communities are at the front line of efforts to protect vulnerable people from succumbing to pernicious ideologies.

It means increasing our support to civil society organizations, who make a unique and invaluable contribution to tackling terrorism and preventing violent extremism.

I am pleased that many of them will join us tomorrow.

And it means engaging women and young people so that they can play meaningful roles in developing, monitoring and implementing counter-terrorism policies and programmes.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the reasons we are here.

I see six goals for this Conference.

First: to strengthen the international counter-terrorism cooperation.

The international community has come a long way since the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy 12 years ago.

We have an international framework to address terrorism defined by the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, 19 globalconventions and protocols and many regional instruments.

But this framework is not enough.

Implementation needs to be prioritized and backed up by strong political will and resources.

It is time for a new era of information sharing to build on the good work being done in different regions of the world by a range of partners.

There are many recent examples of terrorist plots that have been foiled through the sharing of information between different security services.

I know there are already many coalitions and networks to share critical information to detect, identify, disrupt and prosecute terrorists.

But there is much more that can be done to expand these networks and ensure information is shared in a lawful, consistent, timely and secure way, especially in the regions most challenged by terrorism.

Second goal: I hope the conference leads to a renewed and sustained focus on preventing terrorism.

Over the past several years, the international community has mostly been focused on countering terrorism and responding to attacks.

Principled military and law enforcement measures are indispensable if we are to be effective in protecting the lives of citizens.

But terrorism will not be defeated by military means alone.

We need to combine both “counter” and “prevent”.

This means focusing our efforts on the underlying conditions that cause some people to be lured by terrorism.

No one is born a terrorist, but we know that factors such as prolonged unresolved conflicts, lack of the rule of law, human rights abuses, poverty, lack of opportunitiesand socioeconomic marginalization can all play a part in transforming ideas and grievances into acts of terrorism.

So, preventing and resolving conflicts and promoting the rule of law and social and economic progress are our first lines of defence.

Third goal: I hope this conference underlines the fundamental importance of fully respecting human rights while tackling terrorism.

Terrorism is fundamentally the denial and destruction of human rights.

Terrorist groups share an agenda of authoritarianism, misogyny and intolerance.

Their actions and beliefs are an affront to the values of the United Nations.

The fight against terrorism must uphold those values, or it will never succeed.

Fourth goal: the conference should underline the need to make a strategic investment in young people to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism.

Youth are our hope and our future.

We need to harness the positive energy of young people by increased investment in education and employment opportunities.

We also need to empower them by giving them the tools they need to combat oppressive extremist narratives, xenophobia and hate speech.

And our counter-terrorism measures must also reflect their views and concerns.

But it is a sad fact that most new recruits to terrorist organizations are between 17 and 27 years old.

Terrorist groups exploit the tendency in young men and women to look for a sense of purpose that feels unique and distinct from the social norm.

While the vast majority of young people present no risk, some are drawn to terrorism because of a lack of hope or feelings of economic or cultural marginalization.

Terrorist recruiters exploit these grievances. That is why we must intensify our efforts to address them.

Fifth goal: let this conference shine a light on the tragic human cost of terrorism.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed, wounded or traumatized by terrorism.

I welcome the decision to hold the first annual International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the victims of terrorism on August 21.

We have an obligation to uphold the rights of victims, to seek justice and ensure they have a voice.

And we must offer practical, emotional and psychological support to the survivors of terrorism so that they can rebuild their lives.

These include the children of foreign terrorist fighters, who will have to live with this stigma as they grow up.

Sixth goal: I hope this conference will strengthen the role of the United Nations in assisting you to tackle terrorism.

The United Nations has a unique international convening role.

We can help find multilateral solutions to complex global problems.

And we can help to deliver principled, effective and coordinated counter-terrorism strategies through our capacity building support to Member States and through mobilizing much-needed resources.

Terrorism is a grave and complex threat.

Ending it demands that we work together flexibly, intelligently and openly.

I look forward to hearing the results of your deliberations. I thank you very much.