Advocacy section :
SCI together with all major INGOs in Yemen joined two press releases highlighting the impact of fuel shortages on the ground and call for an immediate and permanent cease fire as an additional 70,000 people flee Coalition airstrikes in northern Yemen
A temporary five-day humanitarian pause came into effect as of 11pm (local time) on May 12 between the Houthis / Saleh and Saudi Arabia. Any increase of humanitarian access would surely a welcome development, but such a humanitarian pause is not sufficient given the millions of people in need. A permanent negotiated ceasefire is needed. However, this will improve to an extent the access of humanitarian supplies into the country.
The Yemen INGO Forum sent a letter to the Humanitarian Coordinator with some preconditions to maximise the positive impact of such a humanitarian pause. This included:
1) visas for health staff (humanitarian visa on arrival)
2) airport access and flight availability (including guarantee of return)
3) clarification about guarantees on the level of security during the pause
4) reliability of communications networks
5) access to sufficient fuel
Key advocacy messages :
- All parties to the conflict must immediately end the violence and seek a negotiated solution.
- In the meantime, warring parties must uphold international humanitarian and human rights law at all times, seeking to protect in particular children and other civilians from the effects of the violence.
- Parties to the conflict must end practices negatively affecting child protection. As in any escalation of hostilities, children are the most vulnerable to the violence, and are at a higher risk of being separated from families in the event of displacement.
- Parties to the conflict must allow unimpeded humanitarian access into and within the country in order to reach people in need. Insecurity linked to active conflict and to the risk of looting, as well as restrictions to the import of essential supplies continue to be the main reasons hindering humanitarian access. SC has been unable to distribute food supplies stored in our warehouses due to the risk of our convoys coming under fire. In areas less affected by the conflict, SC has been unable to procure essential supplies in the local market or unable to transport them, due to shortages of commodities and fuel. The most vulnerable people ultimately end up suffering in a time when the need is highest.
- Donors and the international community should support a coordinated, impartial and needs-based response.
Donors must also learn from previous experiences and consider a recovery lens from the outset and a long-term focus. While humanitarian funding will be required in the immediate future, the international community cannot forget Yemen, and it cannot focus on Yemen only during spikes of violence. Education should be seen as a priority component of emergency assistance, as education offers a protective response that helps children to maintain a sense of normalcy and supports their well-being in conflict situations.