Ministers Wallström and Koenders express their shock at the latest reports from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) that the number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has exceeded 200,000, with an estimated 5,000 new cases every day
"The speed with which the epidemic is spreading is particularly worrisome. Especially children are at risk, already accounting for half of the registered cases to date, and about a quarter of the recorded fatalities. It is appalling to see yet another humanitarian crisis added to an already catastrophic situation, with 17 million Yemeni’s depending on external aid for their survival, more than 7 million people at the brink of starvation and over 2.2 million children acutely malnourished and particularly vulnerable."
"The humanitarian situation is a direct consequence of more than two years of conflict which have severely affected access to health, water and sanitation systems. We call on all conflict parties to grant unhindered access to humanitarian organizations and people in need of assistance and recall the obligation under International Humanitarian Law to remove any obstacles and bureaucratic hurdles and to facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need."
However, humanitarian aid cannot alone solve the crisis. A political solution, where women are included throughout the process, is the only way to reach long term and sustainable peace and development. It is important to mainstream gender equality as women’s involvement increases effectiveness of humanitarian assistance and changes of successful peace agreements. Sweden and The Netherlands will engage partners to renew the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities to ensure the humanitarian access the country so desperately needs. A cessation of hostilities monitored by the United Nations as a first step towards the resumption of peace talks under UN leadership. All international and regional actors need to engage constructively with Yemeni parties to enable a de-escalation of the conflict and a negotiated settlement that respects the independence, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen. Both ministers recall the recent UN Security Council Presidential Statement calling on parties in Yemen to engage constructively in a good-faith effort for conflict resolution.
Parties to the conflict must allow commercial flights into Sana’a airport and unlock the economic potential of the country and its people. All airports (including Aden) and ports across the country need to function properly, and salaries of civil servants including medical personnel need to be paid. In this regard, both ministers recall the Security Council’s call on all parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy’s latest proposals for increasing commercial and humanitarian shipments through Red Sea ports including new arrangements for the management of Hodeida port and city.
Sweden and The Netherlands also recall the recent UN Security Council Presidential Statement calling for immediate mobilization of the funds pledged to Yemen at the Geneva pledging conference of 25 April 2017, hosted by the United Nations Secretary-General together with the governments of Sweden and Switzerland, and full funding of the United Nations 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen as part of a coordinated international response to the crisis.
The Netherlands continues to support UNICEF and WHO with unearmarked contributions of over EUR 23 million in addition to humanitarian funding for Yemen of EUR 20 million in 2017 alone. Likewise Sweden continues to support UNICEF and WHO with unearmarked contributions of over EUR 63 million in 2017 in addition to humanitarian funding for Yemen of EUR 23 million in 2017 alone.
"We remain deeply concerned about the continued allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights and applicable international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. We recall that the reported attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, funerals, population centers and markets are unacceptable. So are the continued recruitment of children, the abduction of civilians and alleged violations of political and civil rights, and the significant increase in reports of sexual and gender-based violence. We urge all parties to the conflict to fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law. We continue to strongly support the call for an international independent investigation into all alleged violations and abuses, with a view to ending impunity for crimes committed by all parties to the conflict."