A girl pushes two younger children in a wheelbarrow that also bears several jerrycans in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Photo: UNICEF/Mohamed Yasin
18 June 2015
The United Nations Security Council today condemned in the strongest terms the “horrific” series of terrorist attacks on mosques which left dozens dead and wounded in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a.
The attacks – perpetrated on 17 June – targeted three mosques in Yemen’s capital city in the latest bout of violence to convulse the war-torn country.
“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation,” the 15-member body declared in a press statement issued late this afternoon.
In addition, the Council reiterated its determination “to combat all forms of terrorism” and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, organizers and financiers of the attacks to justice.
During the period spanning 11 to 15 June, a total of 50 civilians, including 18 children and 11 women, were killed in the ongoing fighting in Yemen, bringing the total number of civilian deaths to 1,412, with another 3,423 confirmed as injured, according to UN data. The Organization recently reported that the total casualty figures from the country’s conflict have surpassed 2,600.
Concluding their press statement, meanwhile, Security Council members also reminded States that “they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law.”
Yemen’s hostilities – which began in mid-March – have only deepened the country’s existent humanitarian crisis, plunging civilians even further into despair. Already the poorest nation in the Gulf region prior to the fighting, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) recently stressed that more than 15 million Yemenis do not have access to basic healthcare, with 53 health facilities closed and malnutrition increasing. Eighty per cent of the country’s population is currently in need of critical humanitarian aid.
At the same time, the country’s extensive archaeological and historic heritage has been increasingly under threat following a surge in aerial bombing raids in the Old City of Sana’a.
This past Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the opening in Geneva of UN-backed consultations among Yemeni stakeholders, telling the press that the parties in Yemen had a responsibility to end the fighting and begin a real process of peace and reconciliation. “Yemen’s very existence hangs in the balance. While parties bicker, Yemen burns,” Mr. Ban underscored at that time.
The consultations are being facilitated by UN Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who yesterday said the fact that both Yemeni delegations are in now Geneva to participate in the consultations “an important start towards the return to a political process.”