ADEN, Yemen, January 26, 2023 – As the conflict in Yemen is set to enter its ninth year in March, efforts to reach an agreement between all parties to end the conflict must be redoubled. Yemenis do not need to go through another year of death and destruction, said Federico Borello, Executive Director of Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), on a visit to Yemen. “The time for ending the conflict across the country is now!”
While talks to agree on a new truce are reportedly underway, its effects must be felt across all Yemeni cities and governorates. “The six-month truce in 2022 was an important first step towards a resolution of the conflict. However, armed clashes, affecting and harming civilians, were still taking place in a few areas such as Taiz and Marib,” said Borello. “Yemenis need a truce that protects civilians in every part of the country because the risk of re-escalation remains high.”
Women and men with whom we met in Aden and Marib also indicated that the “truce should be more than a lull for fighters,” referring to many other risks and threats they continue to face. Among the top threats mentioned by the people we spoke to are the widespread presence of explosive remnants of war (EWR), the recurrent missile and drone strikes against camps for internally displaced persons in Marib and their unsafe living conditions, and the proliferation of firearms without any regulation.
“In Marib, there is no shortage of stories about displaced families harmed by missile and drone strikes hitting their tents or children’s playgrounds,” said Borello. “Displaced women, men, and children fled to Marib for safety, yet they continue to face threats inside their place of refuge.”
CIVIC is calling for the implementation of an early warning mechanism launched in Aden on Thursday, January 26th. The mechanism should be designed to detect when an attack is imminent to allow civilians to take shelter.
Marib is one of the governorates in Yemen where armed clashes continued during the six-month truce in 2022, exposing civilians to ongoing harm. The governorate has been the site of heavy fighting between Yemeni government forces and the Houthis since February 2021. In this area, civilians have paid a heavy price. Many have been killed and injured from missiles, landmines, and improvised explosive devices.
Remote from the frontline, Aden also continues to suffer from the impacts of the war. The city was left on its knees following the brutal conflict between the Houthis and armed forces aligned with the Yemeni government in 2015.
“Aden is still scarred by the heavy armed fighting from seven years ago. Until today, much of the city’s infrastructure lies in ruins,” said Borello. “From large posters plastered around the city remembering those killed to buildings turned to rubble and bullet-riddled houses, Aden is a painful reminder of the devastating toll of urban warfare on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”
CIVIC reminds all parties to the conflict to avoid using explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas and adhere to international humanitarian law, which prohibits indiscriminate attacks and requires that all feasible precautions be taken to minimize civilian harm.
CIVIC in Yemen:
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has been in Yemen since 2018. Through its programs and advocacy efforts, CIVIC has engaged with various key actors, including security forces and local communities, to prevent and reduce civilian harm.
Facts and Figures:
- In March 2023, the conflict in Yemen will enter its 9th year since its escalation in 2015.
- In 2023, an estimated 17 million people need humanitarian aid and protection services in Yemen. More than half (51%) of them are children under 17.
- About 5 million people have been internally displaced since 2015. Yemen is the 6th largest internal displacement crisis in the world.
- Women and children represent up to 80% of the total displaced population.
- An estimated 7 million children are out of school, of which 47% are girls.
- The Global Peace Index 2022 ranked Yemen as the second least peaceful country in the world, behind Afghanistan.
- Water and land conflict is the second biggest cause of conflict. It is estimated that 4,000 people are killed every year in conflicts over land and water.
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