Over five years of brutal war in Yemen have left millions of Yemenis weakened by malnutrition and disease, and decimated Yemen’s health system.  The imminent threat of COVID-19 will exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation: 80 percent of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, the majority of whom are women and children; two-thirds of the country lacks adequate access to clean water and sanitation; millions are living on the brink of starvation; nearly 20 million people lack access to adequate healthcare; and cholera, dengue, and other preventable diseases are already rife. These factors create an environment dangerously conducive to the severe and rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, threatening countless civilian lives.

Especially in light of this extraordinary threat, we, the undersigned NGOs, cautiously welcome the announcement by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of a temporary cessation of hostilities in YemenWe urge all parties to the conflict in Yemen to immediately halt fighting, to implement a ceasefire on the ground without delay, to release all detainees and those forcibly disappeared, and to work with the UN Special Envoy to urgently restart comprehensive and inclusive political negotiations to end the conflict.

A ceasefire alone cannot stop the spread of COVID-19 in Yemen.  All parties must immediately lift restrictions and end interference with vital humanitarian operations; ensure immediate access to populations in need; facilitate the movement of humanitarian workers and goods and of commercial imports; and end blockades and other actions and policies that prevent or restrict essential commercial imports into Yemen, to maintain the humanitarian response for the millions of Yemenis who need aid to survive, and to support Yemenis’ economic livelihood. Yemeni civil society must also be supported to continue their essential role in responding to the crisis. Simultaneously, the international community must ramp up funding for the full range of humanitarian programming in Yemen. Amid this global pandemic, any suspension of life-saving assistance for Yemen, or politicization of humanitarian access and funding, will leave Yemen’s already vulnerable civilian population at heightened risk.

A cessation of hostilities in Yemen can only be a first step. Yemenis need a durable ceasefire, a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement to the current conflict, unencumbered access to humanitarian aid and commercial imports, and accountability for the violations all sides have committed during this war.  Yemen cannot wait any longer for an end to the conflict and humanitarian devastation that has ravaged the civilian population for over five years.

Signed by:

  1. ACAT-France (Action by Christians Against Torture)
  2. Action against Hunger
  3. Action Corps
  4. Alliance for Peacebuilding
  5. Alliance internationale pour la défense des droits et des libertés (AIDL)
  6. ALQST for Human Rights
  7. Avaaz
  8. Bread for the World
  9. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  10. CARE International
  11. Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
  12. Center for International Policy
  13. Center for Policy Analysis in Horn of Africa
  15. Cordaid – Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development
  16. Cure Violence Global
  17. Danish Refugee Council
  18. Dhameer for Rights and Freedoms
  19. Freedom Forward
  20. Friends Committee on National Legislation
  21. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  22. Global Communities
  23. Handicap International – Humanity & Inclusion
  24. Human Rights First
  25. International Civil Society Action Network
  26. International Federation for Human Rights
  27. International Rescue Committee
  28. Islamic Relief Worldwide
  29. Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
  30. Médecins du Monde
  31. Mercy Corps
  32. Mothers of Abductees Association
  33. Musaala for Human Rights Organization
  34. Mwatana for Human Rights
  35. Norwegian Refugee Council
  36. Observatoire des armements
  37. Oxfam
  38. Pax Christi International
  39. Peace and Building Foundation
  40. Peace Direct
  41. Physicians for Human Rights
  42. Première Urgence Internationale
  43. Project on Middle East Democracy
  44. Refugees International
  45. Saferworld
  46. Salam for Yemen
  47. Search for Common Ground
  48. Solidarités International
  49. STAND: The student-led movement to end mass atrocities
  50. Students for Yemen
  51. Tearfund
  52. United Nations Association of the National Capital Area
  53. Watch for Human Rights
  54. Win Without War
  55. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
  56. Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
  57. Yemen Solidarity Network
  58. Yemen Civil Alliance for Peacebuilding
  59. Yemeni Alliance Committee

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