Carl Waldmeier_Sanaa

Facing Two Fronts: COVID-19 amidst the Yemeni Civil War - an interview with Yemen’s CSPPS Member YWBOD

Once the magnitude of the current pandemic became clear, so did the fact that those in a state of ongoing conflict will be impacted most severely. Following the appeal by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the Saudi-backed coalition declared a two-week unilateral truce on April 8th in an attempt to contain the devastating impact of COVID-19 in an already war-torn Yemen. However, this has not been upheld. Instead, conflict has spiked over the past weeks, leading to multiple deaths on top of the already towering death toll. And although the Saudi coalition announced a month-long extension of their unilateral ceasefire on April 24th, scepticism about their actual compliance to this statement cannot be said to be unfounded.

For the third article in this series, the Secretariat of the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS) discussed the reality of the ceasefire in Yemen in light of COVID-19 with Maged Sultan, member of CSPPS and Chair of the Youth Without Borders Organization for Development (YWBOD) in Yemen.

“In Yemen, the coalition’s actions objectively led to the listing for the killing and maiming of children, with 683 child casualties attributed to this party, and, as a result of being responsible for 38 verified incidents, for attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016.”

The struggle over control of the nation has left approximately 80% of the population relying on humanitarian aid and has led to more than 100,000 casualties due to the violence, of which 12,000 are civilian. Additionally, more than 85,000 people are said to have died from famine as a direct consequence of the war. All the while, the country suffers from the worst epidemic of cholera in modern history, making the Yemeni situation the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. A looming pandemic over this already dire situation only intensifies the need for a sustainable peace.

In the article, Maged Sultan calls upon the international community, including the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, of which CSPPS is part, to support the call for a true ceasefire. Yemen needs a nation-wide ceasefire, to be upheld, respected and supported by all stakeholders. 

Today, 27 April, marks the day that Ms Olla Alsakkaf, a 25 year old peacebuilder from Yemen, and direct colleague of Maged Sultan briefs the UN Security Council in the Open Debate on Youth, Peace and Security. Olla will accentuate that the young people of Yemen stand ready to support all actors in pursuing and upholding the Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire. Read the full statement here.

Read here the third article "Facing Two Fronts: COVID-19 amidst the Yemeni Civil War" from the series CSPPS and COVID-19 Coordinated Response to Support Local Action.


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