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Maldives opposition leader urges peaceful transition after poll win
by Agence France Presse, agencies
24 Sep. 2018
Maldives opposition leader urges peaceful transition after poll win. (AFP, agencies)
Maldives opposition leader Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has declared victory in Sunday''s presidential election, urging strongman incumbent Abdulla Yameen to ensure a peaceful transition of power and immediately release scores of political prisoners.
"I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power," Solih said on national television shortly after official results showed he had an unassailable 58 percent of the popular vote.
"The message is loud and clear. People want justice and stability and we will ensure accountability," he added.
The opposition candidate had an unassailable lead of 34,000 votes over Yameen with just 27,000 votes to be declared late on Sunday, according to polling station results broadcast over local media.
Yameen, who was widely tipped to retain power, had jailed or forced into exile almost all of his main rivals.
Before polls opened, police raided the campaign headquarters of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and searched the building for several hours in a bid to stop what they called "illegal activities". There were no arrests.
Mohamed Nasheed, the head of Solih''s Maldivian Democratic Party, said the vote would "bring the country back to the democratic path".
Yameen would have no option but to concede defeat, said Nasheed, who was elected president of a newly-democratic Maldives in 2008 but lives in exile."He will not have people around him who will support him to fight on and stay," he told AFP.
The poll is being closely watched by regional rivals India and China, who are jostling to influence Indian Ocean nations. The European Union and United States, meanwhile, have threatened sanctions if the vote is not free and fair.
Many voters across the Indian Ocean archipelago said they stood in line for more than five hours to cast their ballots, while expatriate Maldivians voted in neighbouring Sri Lanka and India.
The Election Commission said balloting was extended by three hours until 7:00 pm (1400 GMT) because of technical glitches suffered by tablet computers containing electoral rolls, with officials using manual systems to verify voters'' identities. An election official said the deadline was also extended due to heavy voter turnout.
Yameen voted minutes after polling booths opened in the capital Male, where opposition campaign efforts had been frustrated by a media crackdown and police harassment.
Some 262,000 people in the archipelago - famed for its white beaches and blue lagoons - were eligible to vote in an election from which independent international monitors have been barred. Only a handful of foreign media were allowed in to cover the poll.
The Asian Network for Free Elections, a foreign monitoring group that was denied access to the Maldives, said the campaign had been heavily tilted in favour of 59-year-old Yameen.
The government has used "vaguely worded laws to silence dissent and to intimidate and imprison critics", some of whom have been assaulted and even murdered, according to Human Rights Watch.
Before the election there were warnings that Yameen could try to hold on to power at all costs.
In February he declared a state of emergency, suspended the constitution and ordered troops to storm the Supreme Court and arrest judges and other rivals to stave off impeachment.
The crackdown attracted international censure and fears the Maldives was slipping back into one-man rule just a decade after transitioning to democracy.
India, long influential in Maldives affairs -- it sent troops and warships in 1988 to stop a coup attempt -- expressed hopes the election would represent a return to democratic norms.
In recent years Yameen has drifted closer to China, India''s chief regional rival, taking hundreds of millions of dollars from Beijing for major infrastructure projects.
24 Sep. 2018
Voters in the Maldives elect for change, by Michael Safi. (Guardian News)
Voters in the Maldives have rejected the incumbent president, Abdulla Yameen, in an extraordinary rebuke to a leader who jailed political opponents and judges and drew his country closer to China during a tumultuous five-year term.
With more than 80% of the ballots counted on Sunday night, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, popularly known as Ibu, was ahead by an unassailable 17 points in an election viewed as a referendum on democracy in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Yameen, 59, is yet to concede but Solih has claimed victory in the capital, Male. “This is a moment of happiness, a moment of hope, a moment of history,” Solih told an audience of journalists and members of his campaign team. “For many of us this has been a difficult journey, a journey that has led to prison cells or exile.
“It’s been a journey that has ended at the ballot box. I must thank all those people who have struggled for this cause.”
Transparency Maldives, a local monitoring group, said its early results had shown Solih was the victor “by a decisive margin”. “We call on all stakeholders to maintain an environment conducive for a peaceful transfer of power,” the group said.
A spokesman for Yameen declined to say if the strongman leader would be making any public statements in the next hours.
Analysts had said Yameen was in a tough contest to win a second term against an opposition of disparate parties united by the goal of removing him from office. But few were willing to predict his downfall given his control of the country’s election commission, its supreme court and the public broadcaster.
Since his election in 2013, the former civil servant has introduced criminal defamation laws, imprisoned or exiled his key political opponents and, in February, gutted the supreme court by arresting two of its five judges.
The US and EU had both threatened sanctions against Yameen and members of his government if they were seen to be interfering in Sunday’s poll.
Monitors said a record number of people voted on Sunday, with lines snaking around the blocks of many polling booths and the voting deadline extended by three hours to accommodate the demand.
The result puts Solih, 54, on track to be sworn in as the Maldives’ fourth president since it transitioned to democracy in 2008 after decades of monarchical and authoritarian rule.
A mild-mannered stalwart of the Maldivian democratic movement, Solih was among the MPs who tried – and were denied the right – to register the country’s first independent political party in 2003.
He is known for his cool temperament and is considered acceptable to parties across the country’s polarised political spectrum.
“It is crucial to note that as a lawmaker Ibu has enjoyed cross-party appeal more than any other,” said Azim Zahir, a Maldivian researcher.
Should Solih become president, he will face challenges in keeping his disparate coalition together and in striking a balance between India, the country’s traditional patron and protector, and China, which has the wealth and willingness to fund the small country’s development. http://bit.ly/2O2JNex
16 Sep. 2018
The Maldives government’s intimidation of the political opposition and media threatens prospects for free and fair elections in September 2018, Human Rights Watch said in a report released this week.
The government of this Indian Ocean archipelago has also interfered with the judiciary and the national electoral commission in order to tighten its grip on power, said Human Rights Watch.
“The Maldives government has cracked down on any and all dissent, from activists and journalists to Supreme Court judges,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Immediate steps are needed to restore political freedoms and democratic rule to ensure free and fair elections in September.”
The 52-page report, “‘An Assault on Democracy’: Crushing Dissent in the Maldives,” documents how the government of President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has used decrees and broad, vaguely worded laws to silence dissent and intimidate, arbitrarily arrest, and imprison critics.
These include counterterrorism laws widely used against opposition activists and politicians; anti-defamation laws used against the media and social media activists; and restrictions on assembly that prevent peaceful rallies and protests.
Religious extremists and criminal gangs – including many that enjoy political protection – have assaulted and sometimes murdered dissenters with impunity. This has had crippling effects on the Maldives’ nascent democracy and struggling civil society.
The United Nations and key international partners should call upon the Government to end repressive measures that have eroded fundamental human rights, including freedom of association, expression, peaceful assembly, and political participation, Human Rights Watch said.
Ahead of the elections scheduled for September 23, the Maldives government should take urgent steps to end politically motivated abuses against the opposition, journalists, activists, and judges. For elections to be free and fair, they need to be held in an environment free from coercion, discrimination, or intimidation of voters, candidates, and political parties.
In February, Mr. Yameen declared a state of emergency to annul a Supreme Court ruling that quashed the convictions of nine opposition leaders. Those leaders include former President Mohamed Nasheed, who in 2015 was convicted in a trial that violated due process standards and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Two Supreme Court justices were arrested on politically motivated charges after rulings that were perceived to favor the opposition.
The Yameen government has also issued decrees through the Election Commission blocking opposition leaders from contesting elections. The authorities have jailed opposition leaders under vague provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, restricted protests, and arrested peaceful protesters. Under international pressure, Yameen lifted the state of emergency on March 22, 2018.
The Maldives government should drop all prosecutions for the peaceful exercising of basic rights, including criminal investigations and terrorism charges brought against individuals for their criticism of the government, and end politically motivated arrests and detention, Human Rights Watch said.
Humanitarian agencies call for action to address Yemeni Crisis
by OCHA, UN News, ReliefWeb, agencies
21 Sep. 2018
Briefing to the UN Security Council on the Humanitarian Situation in Yemen by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Mark Lowcock.
The Security Council have asked me to update you today on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. In a word, it is bleak. We are losing the fight against famine. The position has deteriorated in an alarming way in recent weeks. We may now be approaching a tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life as a result of widespread famine across the country.
As you know, Yemen has for some time now been the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Years of very intense and protracted fighting all over the country have destroyed infrastructure, wrecked public services, displaced millions of people from their homes and livelihoods, and seen what’s believed to be the worst cholera outbreak the world has ever seen ravage the country.
All that, together with a dramatic economic collapse in a country already among the world’s poorest, meant that, at the beginning of this year, fully three quarters of Yemenis – 75 per cent, 22 million people – were in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance or protection.
Many millions no longer have any regular source of income – including the families of teachers, health workers, water and sanitation workers and other public servants who haven’t been paid a regular salary in two years.
Some 18 million people, including a high proportion of Yemen’s children, are food insecure, and more than 8 million of them severely-food insecure, and what that means is that those people do not know where their next meal will come from, and they need emergency food assistance to survive.
The issue I want to flag to you today, is that two recent developments threaten to overwhelm the aid operation.
The first is a marked economic deterioration, symptomized by the depreciation of the Yemeni Rial by some 30 per cent in the last month or so. Because almost all the food consumed in Yemen is imported, that depreciation translates directly into a sharp increase in the price of food for some 10 million Yemenis, who are food insecure but who are not reached by the aid operation. We are already seeing pockets of famine-like-conditions – including cases where people are eating leaves because they have no other form of sustenance.
We estimate that an additional 3.5 million people may soon be added to the 8 million already severely food insecure.
Compounding that, the depreciation of the Rial and access problems are producing unprecedented increases in the price of fuel. My team on the ground reported yesterday that people are waiting in kilometre-long queues at petrol stations. As petrol prices have doubled just this week, transportation costs have gone up, and reaching a health facility or fleeing fighting when it reaches your neighbourhood is becoming unaffordable for many families without outside help.
Commercial imports of food and fuel have yet to recover from last November’s blockade. Fuel imports in September are only one-third of what they were in August.
Commercial food imports fell from a registered 410,000 metric tons in May to 280,000 metric tons in August. That’s a fall of 30 per cent.
With the confidence of shipping companies already very battered, as reflected in a 35 per cent drop in clearance requests since the blockade, any further shocks could add to the core humanitarian caseload in a way which would simply overwhelm the capacity of humanitarian organizations.
Secondly, the intensification of fighting in recent weeks around Hudaydah is choking the lifeline, which the aid operation and the commercial markets rely on.
The combination of the ports of Hudaydah and Saleef, where most of Yemen’s food imports arrive, the access roads from the ports to the large population centres in the north and the west of the country, and the facilities in the city in which grain is milled before onward transportation, that combination is the essential, irreplaceable, infrastructure on which aid operations and commercial imports rely.
Now, the main Hudaydah-Sana’a road – which is the principal artery used by commercial importers and humanitarian organizations to move commodities from the ports to people across the country - has in recent days been cut off by fighting.
Other routes are heavily damaged and increase transport times and therefore the cost for humanitarian organizations and private companies.
The Red Sea Mills in Hudaydah, which currently contain 45,000 tons of grain imported by the World Food Programme, that’s enough to feed three and a half million people for a month, has recently been inaccessible because of fighting in the local area.
Armed groups have occupied humanitarian facilities. Attacks against civilians and humanitarian sites have resulted in dozens of deaths, especially of children, and serious damage to public health and water facilities and other humanitarian assets.
Aid agencies including United Nations still have 600 staff in Hudaydah, and while we have since June provided direct assistance to more than half a million people fleeing the fighting in the Governorate, aid activities, including life-saving immunization campaigns, have been delayed or have been prevented.
It is far from clear that the recent intensification of fighting is producing any winners. It is, though, abundantly clear, all too abundantly clear, who the losers are: millions of Yemenis civilians, most of them women and children, whose lives are right on the line.
I know that some people will want to talk about who is to blame for the position we now face. That is, with respect, the wrong question for today. The issue is who can do something to head off the impending catastrophe.
While we will continue to push to scale up the humanitarian response, humanitarian organizations simply cannot look after the needs of all 29 million Yemenis. That is untenable. We ask the Security Council for support in three key areas to prevent a complete collapse and safeguard the lives of millions of the most vulnerable people.
First, immediate measures are needed to stabilize the economy and support the exchange rate. That includes useable liquidity for the central bank, and the implementation of long standing commitments to pay key public-sector salaries across the whole country, so that more people have the wherewithal to buy e food and keep the commercial markets, which as I have said, aid agencies cannot replace, to keep those markets alive. It is, at the same time, essential to avoid any policy measures, which would damage the already paperthin confidence of commercial importers any further.
Second, everyone with a stake in this must uphold their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and facilitate access to vulnerable people. We have to keep all the ports open, we have to keep all the main roads open, we have to keep them functional, we have to keep them safe. No humanitarian site should be used for military purposes. As I have said to you, the lifeline through which the aid operation runs now hangs by a thread.
Third, we ask all parties to find practical solutions to key issues, including the opening of an air bridge for civilians to seek medical treatment outside Yemen for diseases no longer treatable inside the country. That would lay the pathway for the opening of the airport in Sanaa.
And, of course, and finally, the parties need to get around the negotiating table and engage seriously with the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on a positive path towards peace.
The conflict has made Yemen a living hell for its children says Unicef. (Reuters)
In the malnutrition ward of a hospital in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, doctors weigh toddlers with protruding rib cages and skeletal limbs.
Twenty children, most under the age of two, being treated at the ward in Sab''een Hospital are among hundreds of thousands of children suffering from severe malnutrition in the impoverished country that has been ravaged by a more than three years of war.
"The conflict has made Yemen a living hell for its children," Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Representative in Yemen, told Reuters.
She said more than 11 million children, or about 80 percent of the country''s population under the age of 18, were facing the threat of food shortages, disease, displacement and acute lack of access to basic social services.
"An estimated 1.8 million children are malnourished in the country. Nearly 400,000 of them are severely acute malnourished and they are fighting for their lives every day."
A coalition of Sunni Muslim Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen''s war in 2015 against the Iranian-aligned Houthis after they drove the government out of the capital Sanaa.
The war has unleashed the world''s most urgent humanitarian crisis in the nation of 28 million, where 8.4 million people are believed to be on the verge of starvation and 22 million people are dependent on aid.
The coalition has imposed stringent measures on imports into Yemen with checks slowing the flow of commercial goods and vital aid into the country.
"The situation of the families without jobs, without income and in the middle of the war, is catastrophic," Relano said.
She said UNICEF had provided more than 244,000 severely malnourished children under the age of five with therapeutic treatment since the beginning of 2018, in addition to micronutrient treatment to over 317,000 children under five.
"The human cost and the humanitarian impact of this conflict is unjustifiable," U.N. humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande said in a statement on Thursday.
"Parties to the conflict are obliged to do absolutely everything possible to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and ensure people have access to the aid they are entitled to and need to survive."
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) says soaring food prices are pushing many people closer to the brink in a country where millions are already close to famine.
"This economic collapse could kill even more Yemenis than the violence underlying it," NRC''s Yemen country director Mohamed Abdi said, adding that food prices in some places had doubled in recent days.
"The situation is terrible. If something is not done it is only going to get worse," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Already three-quarters of Yemen''s population - 22 million people - are in need of humanitarian assistance. More than 28,000 people have been killed or wounded during the war and 3 million have been uprooted, according to United Nations officials. Thousands more have died from malnutrition, disease and poor health.
"Even buying an egg is very expensive now," the NRC quoted one woman in the port city of Hodeidah as saying. "Before we would spare what we could to help beggars in the streets, but now we have nothing left to offer."
Abdi said it was "heartbreaking" to see civil servants who have not been paid for two years reduced to begging in order to feed their families.
The World Food Programme (WFP) says 8.4 million people are "precariously close to famine". WFP''s Yemen representative Stephen Anderson said there had been a dramatic increase in severe hunger in the last year as food prices rose and jobs dried up.
"Yemen is in free fall. We are extremely worried about the worsening economic conditions," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. He said the WFP and aid agencies were targeting the people closest to famine, but there were another 10 million people who were going hungry and not getting help.
"Our concern is that if prices continue to rise it will tip more people into severe hunger," Anderson said.
http://www.savethechildren.net/article/yemen-further-one-million-children-risk-famine-food-and-fuel-prices-soar-across-country http://www.acaps.org/country/yemen/crisis-analysis http://bit.ly/2MOX45P http://www.ochayemen.org/hpc/ http://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/yemen
Report from War Child UK, Islamic Relief, Norwegian Refugee Council, CARE, Saferworld, Christian Aid, Mercy Corps, Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion, Action Contre la Faim France, Solidarités International, Oxfam, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children, Première Urgence Internationale, agencies
Subject: Proposed Humanitarian Conference on Yemen
22 million Yemenis need humanitarian assistance to survive, and urgent action from the international community to address the root causes of the crisis is long overdue. We write, as representatives of Yemeni civil society and international humanitarian, peacebuilding and human rights organisations, to share our expectations about what a conference must deliver if it is to make a meaningful difference to the lives of Yemeni people.
First, we urge you to reiterate throughout the conference that only an inclusive political solution can fully address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Any initiatives to improve the humanitarian situation must be consistent with ongoing international efforts. For this reason, it is imperative that the conference is organised in close liaison with the United Nations and its Special Envoy and with other key international actors.
Second, any conference must ensure that discussions adhere to humanitarian principles and that all parties to the conflict participate and engage in good faith, guided by the sole objective of alleviating the suffering of Yemenis.
Third, we urge you to ensure that a diverse group of Yemeni civil society representatives, including women and youth, are meaningfully included in any conference and that it is a safe space for their full and equal participation. Any international gathering to address the needs of Yemen’s people must include their voices at its heart.
Fourth, it is absolutely imperative that the right of civilians in Yemen to protection be underlined and deliberations make reference to the outrageous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by all parties to the conflict. We are particularly concerned about the attack on Hodeidah port and the disastrous impact on access to humanitarian assistance for civilians throughout the country.
We urge you to condemn violations and ensure that a key outcome of any conference is that all parties immediately cease indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, stop using explosive weapons in populated areas, and remove all obstacles that impede humanitarian access.
Such a conference should support international accountability for violations against civilians, including access to Yemen for the Panel of Experts established to monitor implementation of Resolution 2140, and the Group of Eminent Experts appointed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2017.
We urge all relevant parties to suspend the transfer of any military equipment at risk of being used against civilians in Yemen.
Finally, to reinforce current international efforts, the conference should demand that key stakeholders enforce the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement of 15 March 2018, and seek to secure the delivery of the following actions:
Acknowledgement by all parties that current levels of imports into Yemen (including fuel and food) are not sufficient to meet the basic needs of the population; public commitments to fully and unconditionally lift the recurring blockade on Yemeni ports, and to remove all delays and obstructions to humanitarian access (including movement of aid workers) and the delivery essential commercial goods; guarantees to ensure fair distribution of aid throughout the country;
Guarantees that Yemen’s ports will be kept functioning and protected from further attacks, including Hodeidah port, which is a critical lifeline for millions of Yemenis;
Public commitments by all parties to engage with the UN Verification and Inspection Mechanism (UNVIM) in good faith and to report on any inspections parties conduct, as required by UN Security Council resolution 2216;
Public commitment to allow more regular medical evacuations immediately and develop a clear roadmap for the full reopening of Sana’a International Airport to commercial flights, without preconditions or conditions for use;
Agreement on a plan for the immediate resumption of payments of public sector salaries across the whole of Yemen especially for health, education and sanitation front line workers, to address the critical issue of the collapse of social services and the economy.
Any commitments announced at such a conference should be made public in a communiqué that sets out clear deadlines and establishes international monitoring mechanisms (including benchmarks and reporting systems) to ensure thorough implementation and transparency.
A humanitarian conference on Yemen that does not set down strict and clear conditions and outcomes would not only pose risks to international leadership; more importantly, it could embolden parties to the conflict at a time when restraint, not escalation, is needed. After more than three years of brutal war, parties to the conflict must hear loud and clear that they will not be allowed to continue to pursue military solutions at the expense of Yemeni lives.
Please be assured of our commitment to work with all parties on an initiative that delivers on these critical goals to bring hope to the people of Yemen. http://bit.ly/2LojKcI
http://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/ceos-major-ngos-call-secretary-general-demand-ceasefire-ahead-peace-talks-yemen http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/07/peace-way-forward-yemen/ http://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/hundreds-thousands-civilians-hodeidah-are-grave-risk-enar http://www.passblue.com/2018/06/20/in-hodeidah-the-norwegian-refugee-council-hangs-on-to-save-yemenis/ http://www.acaps.org/country/yemen/crisis-analysis#d-7257-Overview http://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/military-assault-hodeidah-will-almost-certainly-have-catastrophic-humanitarian-impact http://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/06/yemen-restrictions-to-life-saving-supplies-putting-millions-of-civilians-at-risk/ http://www.icrc.org/en/document/statement-yemen-push-hodeida-will-exacerbate-catastrophic-humanitarian-situation http://www.icrc.org/en/where-we-work/middle-east/yemen http://www.icrc.org/en/war-and-law/protected-persons/civilians
A message from the children of Yemen. (Save the Children)
“We, the children of Yemen, are struggling to survive. We go to sleep to the sound of warplanes overhead and guns in the street. We wake up to more destruction.
“We are innocent, play no part in this war, and have committed no sins.
“And yet, we are missing out on an education as our schools are being destroyed. We are being denied our most basic rights of health, safety, and life. The longer the war continues, the more children will die.
“Disease will continue to spread, whilst health centres lack the medical supplies and vaccines needed to tackle them.
“We could be forced to work just to be able to eat. We are sad for our country, our families and our friends.
“And to the world, to all the big decision makers, we ask you to think of us before you wage a war.
We want the world to do five things for us:
Help stop the war and protect children’s rights. Investigate and monitor grave violations against children. Make sure children can still access education and ensure that damaged schools are rehabilitated.
Restock health centres with medical supplies and rehabilitate hospitals so they can treat the sick and injured. Provide shelter and emotional support for children who have lost everything.
Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director Tamer Kirolos said:
“For the last three years, Yemeni children have been bombed and starved with utter impunity. Thousands have died in their homes or in hospitals as they waited in vain for medicines or lifesaving equipment to reach them. Tens of thousands more could die this year alone if urgent action is not taken to end the violence.
“Children who once felt they had a future, have seen their cities and their dreams turned to rubble. Half of all hospitals have now been damaged or destroyed, hundreds of schools have been levelled or attacked, and four million children are on the brink of famine.
“The saddest thing is that all of this suffering is completely man-made. All we need is political will from all the warring parties to end the bloodshed, to fully relax the blockade so that humanitarian and commercial supplies can enter the country. Without this, the fourth year of Yemen’s war will likely be its deadliest yet.”
Some Key Facts:
The total number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Yemen is 22.2 million – or 76% of the population - including 11.3 million children. Since the beginning of the conflict, there have been more than 15,000 airstrikes.
More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured in the violence – an average of five children every day since March 2015.
Some children as young as 10 have been recruited to fight by parties to the conflict, according to the latest UN figures on the conflict, and 1,698 children affected by grave child rights violations since October 2016 across Yemen, in addition to the children killed. Human rights violations and abuses continue unabated, with at least 8,700 civilians killed and 50,000 injured in what the UN describes as an “entirely manmade catastrophe”.
All sides have been responsible for abuses and grave violations against children. 606 cases of recruitment and use of children by parties of the conflict since October 2016.
1.9 million children are out of school, depriving them of an education and exposing them to the risk of child recruitment into armed groups and armed forces, or early marriage
Senior United Nations humanitarian officials call for greater access to millions of people on the verge of famine.
Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen said that “the lives of millions of people, including 8.4 million Yemenis who are a step away from famine, hinge on our ability to continue our operations and to provide health, safe water, food, shelter and nutrition support.”
We call on all groups involved in the conflict to “fully facilitate sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access, as required by international humanitarian law.”
Mr. McGoldrick said this means lifting of restrictions on Yemen’s Red Sea ports and Sana’a airport, which continue to delay aid from entering the country and hindering the availability of food and fuel.
He also urged parties to the conflict to ensure protection for aid workers and facilities, process visas and not interfere unnecessarily in the work of aid organizations.
The UN aid official also warned about renewed violence in Yemen.
“I am greatly alarmed at reports of hospitals being damaged, populations being impeded from fleeing to safe areas and killings and arbitrary detentions reportedly being carried out in Sana’a,” said Mr. McGoldrick.
In the statement, the official warned that fresh violence would “only lead to further devastation” for the 22 million people in need.
He said that a political solution is the only means to put an end to the suffering, and reiterated his called on any countries with influence to step up their engagement to protect civilians and put an end to this conflict.
“As stated by the UN Secretary-General, it is in the interest of everybody to stop this war,” he said echoing António Guterres’s comments in recent weeks. http://bit.ly/2BVoOAP http://bit.ly/2nQ8Sxo
The UN, the Red Cross and humanitarian agencies have called on the Saudi-led coalition to open humanitarian aid channels into Yemen.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Yemen is in the grip of the world’s worst cholera outbreak and 7 million people are on the brink of famine.
Yemen has been named the UN’s number one humanitarian crisis.
Robert Mardini, ICRC’s regional director for the near and Middle East, said he was concerned at the “steadily growing” number of civilian casualties and the targeting of non-military infrastructure, such as water treatment plants and civilian airports. “Such actions are in violation of international humanitarian law,” he said.
Rupert Colville, a spokesman from the UN high commissioner for human rights expressed concern over a series of recent attacks on markets and homes that have killed scores of civilians, including children.
http://bit.ly/2yf4d8Q http://bit.ly/2zpaBxP http://tmsnrt.rs/2ArYq19 http://www.icrc.org/en/document/yemen-urgent-call-keep-borders-open-health-medical-supplies
Expressing horror at continued violence perpetrated by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country has called on the conflicting sides to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law.
“In particular, I ask the parties to adhere to the principles of distinction between civilians and combatants and proportionality in the conduct of hostilities and refrain from directing attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure,” said Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen.
“I also reiterate my calls on States who have influence over the parties to step up their engagement to bring about a political solution to the crisis,” he added.
Last week alone, at least thirteen children were among those killed in the war-torn country. On 2 November, shelling in a residential area in Al Onsowa neighbourhood in Taizz city killed five children and injured two others. All the children killed or injured were between seven and 15 years old.
“The latest events are unfortunately part of the tragic pattern of the disregard that the parties to the conflict continue to show for the laws of war and their obligations and responsibilities to protect civilians lives,” noted Mr. McGoldrick.
“All parties to this brutal conflict must act in the interest of the people of Yemen and in line with international humanitarian law,” he underscored.
The conflict in the country, now into its third year, has killed thousands and driven millions from their homes. Hostilities have also left over 17 million Yemenis food insecure, over a third of the country''s district in severe danger of famine, destroyed infrastructure and resulted in the breakdown of public services, especially water and sanitation systems.
Lack of water and sanitation systems has also resulted in a devastating cholera outbreak, which has already killed more than 2,100 individuals and continues to infect thousands each week.
“We must all do whatever we can to bring the horrendous suffering of the people of Yemen to an end as soon as possible,” said Mr. McGoldrick. http://bit.ly/2hiF0qT
Yemen: Fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded brings number of cases to 895,000.
Yemen is facing one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, including the fastest growing cholera epidemic ever recorded. As of 1 November, there were some 895,000 suspected cholera cases with nearly 2,200 associated deaths since 27 April. More than half of the suspected cases are children.
The outbreak is affecting over 90 per cent of districts across 21 of the 22 governorates. Despite the enormous challenges, humanitarian partners have established 234 Diarrhoea Treatment Centres and 1,084 Oral Rehydration Corners in 225 affected districts in 20 governorates. Some 3.6 million people have been connected to disinfected water supply networks in 12 governorates. Over 17 million people in all governorates were reached with cholera prevention messages.
Yemen is also facing the world’s largest food emergency and widespread population displacement. Nearly 21 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance, seven million of whom are severely food insecure.
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